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State Supreme Court strikes down Albany's 'good cause' eviction law

Jul 01, 2022 1:00 am

Steve Hughes is reporting for the Times Union Albany’s “good cause” eviction law, the first of its kind in the state, was struck down on June 30, in a decision that may lead to the overturning of similar laws statewide. State Supreme Court Judge Christina Ryba ruled in favor of several landlords who argued that the law violated a state law that guided tenant-landlord relationships. Ryba’s decision eliminated one of Mayor Kathy Sheehan’s signature pieces of legislation, part of a larger package of housing-related laws that was lauded by housing advocates as a model for other cities to follow. Advocates of good-cause eviction legislation argue that they prevent predatory rent hikes and give tenants greater power in lease negotiations. Landlords take the position the laws are essentially rent control and infringe on individual property rights. Benjamin Neidl, the attorney for landlord plaintiffs, said, “In Albany, this decision will restore the balance of rights between tenants and landlords as current state law intends." Sheehan's office released a statement saying it was "deeply disappointed" by the ruling and are reviewing all options available. The legislation, as passed by the Albany Common Council a year ago, had several components, including a requirement that landlords could not evict or refuse to renew a lease with a tenant unless they met one of 10 possible conditions — including ongoing failure to pay rent and causing a property to be deemed a nuisance. It also included language that limited rent increases to five percent, with some exceptions. A good cause bill in the state Legislature has repeatedly failed to advance. The city of Hudson Common Council in 2021 passed a local law to prevent eviction without cause. That measure was later vetoed by Mayor Kamal Johnson. Read the full story in the Times Union.