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Albany’s groundbreaking eviction law draws fire from landlords

July 22, 2021

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Albany is the first municipality in New York to pass a “good cause” eviction law.

Under the legislation passed this week, tenants cannot be removed from their home without meeting one of the grounds for eviction prior to bringing the case before a city judge.

“Really, what we hope to see is people remaining in their homes and community being stronger for it,” said Michelle Arthur, executive director at United Tenants of Albany.

The law also gives tenants a right to renew their lease, and protects them from an annual rent increase of more than 5%.

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But the legislation has been criticized by many landlords.

Debbie Pusatere owns 30 units in the city. She calls it disappointing and unnecessary.

“What do I have to do in order to get to the end of the rainbow?” said Pusatere, president of the New York Capital Region Apartment Association. “I have to hire an attorney. I have to go to court. This is months and months of unnecessary expense.”

She claims this will make it much more difficult for landlords to evict bad tenants in order to protect the good tenants.

Pusatere is planning to raise money to challenge the law in court.

“If there’s a problem, we want to help solve that problem,” Pusatere said. “But let us be part of the solution. We don’t need dictates and mandates from people telling us how to run our business.”

Derrick Hogan is a partner at Tully Rinckey. He says good cause offers new protection for tenants, but it doesn’t eliminate the landlord’s ability to evict people. However, he says property owners will have to do their homework and be prepared when presenting cases.

“It’s not as simple as before, where they file a petition for eviction and then they go that way,” Hogan said. “It sounds like they are going to have to have their ducks in a row and have their justifiable reasons.”

Good cause is one of several housing legislations passed by the Common Council this year as part of what city officials say is an effort to improve the quality of life and combat blight.

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