Housing policy has become one of the key sticking points in the ongoing state budget talks, the result of which could determine the course of an increasingly expensive cost on many New Yorkers.
At issue is Gov. Kathy Hochul's proposals to set a statewide housing compact with the goal of creating 800,000 additional units of housing. Progressive advocates have called for measures like a Good Cause Eviction measure, which is meant to make it harder for landlords to raise rents and evict tenants.
The proposal would cap rent increases at 3% or 1.5% of the consumer price index while also setting strict terms for lease renewal.
Democratic lawmakers like state Sen. Brad Hoylman-Sigal have called for a combination of both measures after local-level versions of the law have been struck down in court.
“We have a supply and a demand problem. We have a proposal from the governor that says build more and we have a proposal from advocates and elected officials that says protect tenants in their homes," Hoylman-Sigal said. “Good Cause Eviction and the Housing Compact, I say let's marry the two of them. Let's call it a ‘Good Compact’ and make sure that when we build, we also protect. It is our time to act and to ensure that we build and protect.”
But this week, as the budget talks are expected to enter overtime amid disagreements and a looming deadline on Saturday, members of the clergy opposed the measure.
The Rev. Johnnie Green, in a statement, pointed to the effect the measure would have on Black landlords in New York.
“The existence of Black small property owners has consistently been ignored by Good Cause Eviction advocates,” Green said. “Tens of thousands of African American and African & Caribbean immigrant New Yorkers have poured their life’s savings into a property with the hopes of building generational wealth for their families, and Good Cause Eviction would force many of these owners to sell or even file for bankruptcy. We urge Governor Hochul to reject this reckless policy.”
And Pastor David Randolph Holder, in a statement, said it would make it harder for Black property owners to unlock the value of their investment.
“Good Cause Eviction is an intentionally misnamed policy that's anything but good news for Black New Yorkers,” Holder said. "It’s unfathomable that any elected official would support legislation that would lock the rental market into an inescapable state of disinvestment and deterioration while reducing the amount of affordable housing being built in our communities at a time when it’s urgently needed."
Democratic lawmakers have also called for additional funding for emergency tenant protections. Hochul has not embraced the good cause legislation.