Earlier this month, members of the Kingston Rent Guidelines Board met in an intense meeting to vote on rent reduction, ultimately approving a 15% reduction for more than 1,200 apartments. What seemed to be some positive news for tenants soon came to a screeching halt when the landlords of the impacted complexes filed a lawsuit arguing the resolution was based on flawed data from a housing vacancy survey.

Late last week, a judge ruled to temporarily block the reduction. Now, grassroot organizations like For the Many are condemning the decisions, but say they aren't backing down.

“We think that these nonsensical lawsuits will continue to fail. We're severely disappointed by the judge's decision, but we feel confident that the attorney general's office will be able to defend the rent guidelines board and show that this decision, again, was the only reasonable response to the data and testimony they received, and this is only a temporary restraining order,” said For the Many Political Director Brahvan Ranga.

Ranga has been a part of the proposal from the beginning and said the housing crisis in Kingston is well-documented.

“The decision by the rent guidelines board was carefully deliberated, after multiple rounds of public hearing, after a very large amount of hard data was submitted to the board justifying a rent reduction. And it was abundantly clear that the only reasonable response to that data and testimony was a reduction and a significant look-back period for this fair market rent appeals,” said Ranga.

“On behalf of our clients, we are pleased that the court stayed the unlawful rent rollbacks. The reduction of rents by 15% across the board was unprecedented, and we are grateful that the court saw fit to enjoin that overreach,” said attorney for the Hudson Valley Property Owners Association, Matthew Brett.

Ranga said he and his team will continue to support tenants in whatever way necessary.

“We're interested in tenant organizing, continue to organize tenants in these ETP-eligible buildings. They need support around filing fair-market rent appeals, around filing overcharge complaints if their landlords raise their rents illegally, just supporting them throughout this process as they start to realize these new rights. In addition, we plan on mobilizing in other cities, Newburgh and in some other municipalities in the Hudson Valley,” said Ranga.

There was no comment yet from city officials.

According to For the Many members, there will be another court hearing on Tuesday.