Intensified calls for passage of Good Cause Eviction

Sen. Julia Salazar, lead Senate sponsor of the Good Cause Eviction bill, says the time is now for the state to take action on the housing crisis.
Photo by Luis Rodriguez/Community Service Society

Elected officials, tenants and community groups have intensified their calls for passage of statewide Good Cause Eviction in this year’s New York State budget, citing new data from the Community Service Society (CSS).

Housing Justice for All – a statewide coalition of more than 80 organizations representing tenants and homeless New Yorkers united in their fight for housing as a human right – told Caribbean Life that legislators and housing advocates last Thursday held a press conference at 63 Tiffany Place in Brooklyn calling for passage of the measure.

It said Good Cause Eviction “would protect nearly every New York tenant from rent hikes and unjust evictions.”

CSS’s new report, ‘No Good Cause, No Rent Pause,’ finds that after the State failed to pass a meaningful housing package, including Good Cause Eviction, last year, “unprotected renters have been left out in the cold.”

The findings include: In 2023, 56 percent of market-rate tenants – who lack any protections from rent hikes or eviction – said they faced rent hikes; rents are going up, but for unprotected tenants, living conditions aren’t getting any better; 35 percent of all market-rate tenants said that they were already behind on rent or were about to fall behind; and in a housing stock already prone to overcrowding, 1 in 5 market rate renters said they would likely have to move in with other people to afford rent.

Elected officials at the press conference included Sen. Julia Salazar (lead Senate sponsor of Good Cause); Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon; New York City Comptroller Brad Lander; City Councilmember Shahana Hanif; and Carlos Calzadilla, District Director for Sen. Andrew Gounardes.

The press conference was held at an apartment building in Brooklyn, 63 Tiffany Place, where, Housing Justice for All said, “working class tenants fear sudden, massive rent increases when their building’s rent stabilization agreement expires, which is tied to a LIHTC tax credit.”

Housing Justice for All said one tenant, John Levya, has lived in the building for nearly 30 years.

Levya, who is facing rent hikes, spoke out at the press conference on the necessity of passing Good Cause Evictions to keep New York families like his in their homes.

68 Tiffany Place tenant Joy Foster describes how Good Cause Eviction would protect tenants like her who are facing unfair rent hikes.
63 Tiffany Place tenant Joy Foster describes how Good Cause Eviction would protect tenants like her who are facing unfair rent hikes. Photo by Luis Rodriguez, Community Service Society

“Good Cause would save our homes here at 63 Tiffany Place – and if it doesn’t pass, we will in all likelihood end up in the street,” he said. “This city would not find itself in this housing crisis had we passed Good Cause Eviction 10 or 20 years ago. In any crisis situation, the first step is to stop the bleeding and prevent it from spreading.

“Any sensible housing plan should start, first and foremost, with saving the existing affordable housing we presently have, keeping rents down and keeping tenants in their existing homes,” Levya added. “And that’s exactly what Good Cause does.”

“Without protections from rent hikes, John, his disabled son, and his neighbors are likely to be forced out of their homes and neighborhood,” Housing Justice for All said.

A Siena poll last week found that cost of living and affordable housing are two of New Yorkers’ top concerns.

Housing Justice for All said New York City currently faces the lowest housing vacancy rate in over 50 years, a rate that is even lower for low-cost housing.

“Landlords are taking advantage of renters’ desperation in a historically tight market by price-gouging renters, who are fleeing the city in droves in search of lower housing costs in response,” it said. “Good Cause Eviction would protect tenants from price-gouging and preserve New York’s supply of affordable housing.”

Earlier this month, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund endorsed Good Cause Eviction, citing its ability to stabilize Black renters and Black neighborhoods.

A May 2022 poll found two thirds of likely voters across New York state support Good Cause Eviction.

Samuel Stein, senior policy analyst for the Community Service Society, said: “The data is clear: another year without Good Cause has meant another year of rising rents and hardships for market-rate tenants.

“Most market rate tenants saw their rents rise, but three quarters of them so no improvement in their apartment or building,” he said. “The Legislature needs to get serious about tenant protections and pass Good Cause now.”

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing said: “The residents of 63 Tiffany Place are experiencing what is all too common across the state: massive rent hikes that will force families and elderly people out of the homes they have lived in for years.

“As we grapple with a worsening housing and affordability crisis, tenants need stability and protection against price-gouging and unwarranted evictions now more than ever,” she said. “Any housing deal passed as part of our state budget must include tenant protections and ensure that tenants are not left behind.”

Sen. Salazar said: “This exactingly researched report substantiates the warnings we have been raising all along: Obstinate opposition to meaningfully addressing our housing crisis is only ratcheting up the pressure on renters, pushing more working New Yorkers out of their homes, and further destabilizing our neighborhoods, especially Black and Brown ones like ours.

“We take no pleasure in being proven right, and we redouble our calls to pass comprehensive housing reform, the centerpiece of which must be Good Cause Eviction,” she said. “Without Good Cause Eviction’s strong tenant protections, the problems this report highlights will only get worse.”

Sen. Gounardes, who represents 63 Tiffany Place, said: “New Yorkers should be able to go to sleep each night without worrying that they might be pushed out of their home the following morning at the whims of a greedy landlord.

“The neighbors fighting to stay in their homes at 63 Tiffany Place should not have to fight at all,” he said. “They — and all New Yorkers — deserve Good Cause eviction protections so they and their families can rest easy without worrying about eviction. We’re facing a housing affordability crisis in New York, and we need to act now.”

Assemblymember Simon, who also represents 63 Tiffany Place, said: “It’s egregious that tenants don’t have protections from unjust evictions and massive rent increases, instigated by buyers such as private equity firms.

A crowd gathers to raise up the call for Good Cause Eviction, which would protect tenants from rent hikes and evictions.
A crowd gathers to raise up the call for Good Cause Eviction, which would protect tenants from rent hikes and evictions. Photo by Luis Rodriguez, Community Service Society

“Our long-term neighbors at 63 Tiffany Place in Brooklyn shouldn’t be displaced from the very community they helped create,” she said. “The Good Cause Eviction bill will help address our housing crisis by helping people stay in their homes, and protecting tenants from price-gouging while preserving New York’s supply of affordable housing.

“I stand united with a strong coalition of tenants, colleagues and advocates to push for these reforms,” she affirmed.

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander said: “Unregulated tenants from Downtown Brooklyn to Buffalo are at constant risk of housing instability because of the looming threat of lease non-renewals and rent hikes amidst the gravest housing crisis in recent memory.

“The low-income and working class tenants at 63 Tiffany Place have few options without Good Cause Eviction,” he said. “Because of State Sen. Salazar, Housing Justice for All, and the countless tenant-advocates who are shepherding this life-saving bill, we can hopefully pass Good Cause Eviction this legislative session and keep housing secure for thousands of tenants across the state.”

Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes said: “I want to commend the tenants and advocates of 63 Tiffany for their efforts to exercise their right to stay. I have stood where you are now, I understand the fear and anxiety that comes with knowing your landlord is trying to actively evict you.

“I was evicted from my rent-stabilized apartment of 30 years,” she added. “This was after countless efforts by the landlord to displace tenants. Tenants need protections.

“As elected officials, it is our responsibility to advocate for our communities,” Mitaynes added. “Across New York State tenants have been calling for Good Cause Eviction. It is time the state Legislature listen to them and pass Good Cause.”

Hanif said: “63 Tiffany Place serves as a prime example of why we need to pass Good Cause legislation.

“Longtime residents of 63 Tiffany Place, one of the few affordable housing buildings in the Columbia Waterfront neighborhood, have been in limbo facing potential eviction due to the pending expiration of their building’s LIHTC agreement,” she said. “Access to safe, dignified, affordable housing is foundational and inextricably linked to tenants’ mental health and well-being.

“We need to pass Good Cause to ensure that no New Yorker, at 63 Tiffany Place or across this city, lives in fear of price gouging or unjust eviction,” she added.