On Thursday, a state Appellate Court struck down the city of Albany’s “good cause eviction” law, leaving many tenants “scared,” according to Canyon Ryan, executive director of United Tenants of Albany. The ruling has renewed efforts by tenant advocates to pass a statewide version of the law.

Albany was the first city to implement the policy, which requires property owners to give cause for an eviction and limited the amount that they could raise rent on tenants. The rent increases are capped at 5% with exceptions for renovations and higher rises in the consumer price index.

However, the city’s law was struck down by an Appellate Court judge who ruled the city does not have the authority to change the relationship between tenants and property owners and added that power lies with the state, effectively preempting the city’s law.

Ben Niedl, the attorney who represented property owners in the challenge to Albany’s law, said in a statement provided to Capital Tonight that they are pleased with the decision and added “It vindicates what the plaintiffs and other Albany landlords have said all along: Albany’s local law illegally disrupted the State laws that are carefully calibrated to balance the rights of landlords and tenants alike. All we have ever asked for in this case is the restoration of rights guaranteed in State law. This decision achieves that.”  

Following the ruling, advocates came together virtually with the chairs of the Assembly and Senate Housing Committees, Linda Rosenthal and Brian Kavanagh, to call on the state Legislature to pass good cause legislation on the state level this year.

The bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Julia Salazar and Assemblymember Pam Hunter, has not passed either chamber and sits in the Senate Judiciary and Assembly Housing Committees.

The ruling comes as lawmakers debate the governor’s budget proposal which includes a plan to create 800,000 housing units in the state over the next decade. Ryan told Capital Tonight that more needs to be done to ensure more affordable housing is built in the state.