Assemblymember Barrett Helps Pass Historic Rent Reforms to Better Protect Hudson Valley Tenants

June 14, 2019

Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Dutchess/Columbia) announced that she helped pass the strongest rent regulation legislation ever in New York State, known as the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (A.8281). The historic legislation will empower tenants and expand affordable housing options across the state.

Among the important reforms passed today are new safeguards for tenants in manufactured home parks. This legislation limits rent increases to 3% per year in most cases, constricts landlords’ ability to impose exorbitant fees and other charges, requires park owners to provide two years’ notice and a $15,000 stipend if they intend to evict residents to re-purpose the property, and creating regulations for rent-to-own contracts.

“For many Hudson Valley communities, manufactured housing is the main source of affordable housing,” Barrett said. “But far too often, these tenants face rent hikes, fees and problematic landlord practices that put their housing stability in jeopardy. This legislation provides some long-awaited reforms and finally gives tenants peace of mind so they can plan for the future.”

For the first time in history, there will be expansive protections to tenants statewide. The legislation also extends the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 (ETPA) to any municipality with a rental vacancy rate of 5% or less that chooses to opt in to the rent regulation system.

“Every New Yorker should have a safe, affordable place to call home,” Barrett said. “Yet, too many seniors and others struggle every day to find and stay in housing they can afford, often enduring mistreatment from landlords. This groundbreaking legislation will give upstate New York renters long overdue protections.”

To protect tenants from unfair landlord practices, the legislation prohibits retaliatory eviction against tenants in buildings with four units or more who make a good faith complaint alleging uninhabitable conditions. Further, the bill reforms the eviction process by giving tenants 14 days to pay their rent before an action is brought, 10 days’ notice for a court hearing and, if a warrant is issued, 14 days to leave the unit. The measure also gives judges greater leeway to stay eviction proceedings in cases where such action would cause undue hardship.

“No one should be kicked out of their home because of a late paycheck,” Barrett said. “And when families are forced to move because of this, they’re left to not only find a new home, but often a new school for their kids, new child care and possibly even a new job. This measure will help families avoid this stress by giving them time to pay their rent if an unexpected hardship arises.”

In addition, the statewide protections also:

  • require landlords provide 30 days’ notice for a tenant of one year or less, 60 days’ notice for a tenant of one to two years and 90 days’ notice for a tenant of two or more years when refusing to renew a lease;
  • require landlords make a good faith effort to re-rent a unit after a tenant breaks the lease to help mitigate damages;
  • prevent landlords from using a database of court information to blacklist prospective tenants;
  • limit the amount of a security deposit to an amount equal to one month’s rent and requires any deposit to be refundable; and
  • limit background check fees to $20 and prohibit lease application fees.