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Kingston board passes historic rent reduction

Nov 11, 2022 12:30 am

Phillip Pantuso is reporting for the Times Union the Kingston rent guidelines board November 9, voted 6 to 3, to enact a 15 percent rent reduction for tenants who sign one- or two-year leases between August 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023, at certain protected properties. The decision came after months of organizing by tenants as well as the activist groups, For the Many, Citizen Action, the Democratic Socialists of America and the statewide coalition Housing Justice for All. The decision applies to rental properties that fall under the Emergency Tenant Protection Act, a rent-stabilization law that dictates rent increases for certain city buildings. Kingston became the first city north of the New York City suburbs to adopt the law earlier this year. The law covers 64 buildings with approximately 1,200 rental units in the city, where the average rent has doubled since 2015 and where home values have increased 50 percent since 2020. The move is the first rent reduction in New York state history. Michael Tierney, a tenant representative to the rent guidelines board, said, "This reduction represents a paradigm shift in how we address the needs of the many over unregulated market conditions." The rent guidelines board was established after the Kingston Common Council adopted a resolution declaring a housing emergency on July 28. "This is a monumental victory not just for Kingston tenants, but for tenants across New York," said Aaron Narraph Fernando, communications leader at For the Many. "Any reduction in rents would have been historic, but the capacity for a 15 percent reduction to provide substantive relief to thousands of people cannot be overstated." Read the full story at times union [dot] com.

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