Renters in New York are feeling the pinch; a study states that Manhattan rents increased by 32% in April compared to the same month last year, and housing courts are overflowing as evictions restart following a brief hiatus. Is there any respite, some tenants wonder? Advocates for tenants say “yes,” citing a law called Prohibition of Eviction Without Good Cause that was filed in the New York State Legislature last year. However, what is “good cause eviction” and how will tenants and landlords be affected if the current version of the bill passes into law?

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Good Cause Eviction: What Is It?

Landlords are not compelled by law to present market-rate tenants with fresh lease offers. They couldn’t stop a tenancy without good reason eviction, unless there were additional breaches such as nonpayment of rent.

Legal Aid Society attorney Judith Goldiner, who contributed to the legislation’s drafting, said that a good cause eviction “gives you confidence that you can raise kids” in your flat. “You don’t need to be concerned about being kicked out.”

New Jersey, California, Oregon, and a few New York communities, including Albany, Beacon, Kingston, Newburgh, and Poughkeepsie, already have legislation of a similar nature.

There’s Also a Proposal for Rent Control

Senator Julia Salazar of New York State is the author of a measure that would restrict rent increases at three percent, or 1.5 times the yearly percent hike in the Consumer Price Index, whichever is greater. Therefore, if your monthly rent is $2,000, it may increase by up to 12.5 percent, or $250, this year. The measure, however, also allows landlords to request even larger increases if they can demonstrate that their expenses have increased or that they have made changes.

Who Would Get Protection?

The tenant rights provided by this statute are extended to almost all renters residing in unregulated housing, with a few notable exclusions, including owner-occupied structures with only four units. According to estimates from the Community Service Society, the law would have an impact on 1.6 million families in the state, or nearly half of all renters.

Renters who rent single-family houses, condominiums or cooperative units from private owners, market-rate high-rise flats, month-to-month rental agreements, and subleasing apartments from other renters are all included.

If property owners recover the area for their own use, tenants protected by the measure can still lose their residences.

What Do Landlords Have To Say?

The bill as it stands worries landlords and their supporters because it covers a wide range of property owners who might not think of themselves as landlords in the traditional sense, such as owners of single-family homes, tenants who sublease, and co-op and condo owners who rent out their apartments. Landlords fear that this could result in more housing court cases as tenants challenge rent increases.

Small Property Owners of New York, an advocacy organization for landlords with around 600 members, was led by Ann Korchak, the board president, who expressed worry that the measure would forbid landlords from clearing out their properties for sale or return just because they are no longer interested in renting them out. “It appears almost unfeasible for proprietors to retrieve their assets,” she expressed.

Ms. Korchak also voiced worries about limiting rent increases in an inflationary climate. Her family owns two brownstones on the Upper West Side. She stated that it is “just not realistic to think that the owner’s rising costs are not going to be passed on to” the renters. “That is how the economy functions.”