Members of the Kingston Rent Guidelines Board voted 6 to 3 Wednesday night to enact what was called the first rent reduction effort in the state, marking a major win for tenants in the Hudson Valley.

Brahvan Ranga, political director of For the Many, said the victory took months of organizing and a lot of research.

“A June study found that a vacancy rate within eligible apartments is 1.57%, which shows that Kingston had a housing emergency and the mayor and the common council declared that, and then the board was created to kind of stabilize rents in the ETPA-eligible buildings,” Ranga said, referring to Emergency Tenant Protection Act.

What You Need To Know

  • This rent reduction will apply to all new one- and two-year leases which commence between August 1, 2022 and September 30, 2023

  • All landlords from eligible ETPA buildings are now required to offer these leases to tenants

  • It's the first rent reduction in New York

Ranga said his organization spoke to several tenants who shared the same problem with their rent being too high.

“We're hearing again and again from people that their rents had spiked. Some have doubled in recent years. So, this reduction was a one-time correction to all of that rent gouging after years and years, and this is going to have an effect of like helping tenants stay in their homes,” said Ranga.

Ranga said although it may not fix all, it was a positive change.

“While it certainly doesn't go as far as we'd like…we'll provide some immediate relief to tenants in these buildings and help them keep their homes and give them a little bit of peace of mind,” said Ranga.

Ranga said while this is the first time a rent guidelines board has voted to reduce rent, he hopes the rest of the state will follow suit.

“Cities across the state have limited housing stock, they have skyrocketing rents and we hope that other cities follow Kingston’s lead in addressing the housing crisis by issuing rent reduction,” said Ranga.

According to Ranga, the rent reduction will apply to all new one- and two-year leases commencing between Aug. 1, 2022 and Sept. 30, 2023. All landlords from eligible “ETPA buildings” are now required to offer these leases to tenants.