Article III “Prohibition of Eviction without Good Cause” to Chapter 240 “Rental Properties” was approved by council Monday night.
According to the Housing Justice For All platform, the Good Cause law protects tenants from unlawful eviction by their current landlords. The law states that tenants have the right to live in their homes or units regardless of lease statuses and protects tenants from rent increases brought about by their landlords. Tenants in various situations will be protected against sort of retaliatory eviction or action. Housing Justice For All is a New York based organization fighting for affordable housing and housing rights. It is also here in the state of New York that the cities of Albany and Hudson have added Good Cause into their local law. However, Housing Justice For All also lists the difficulties of the law that include no protection for tenants who break the terms of their lease through criminal activity, non-payment, etc, landlords have the ability to evict tenants for personal usage of the building and it does not regulate rents whenever new tenants come in.
“It’s time for a change,” Michael Mannion of Newburgh said. “We need to get rid of slum lords. We need to clean up the city.”
Ann Sullivan was a former tenant and shares her experience with renting in the city.
“I had a landlord who was lovely but my bedroom was in the basement and when I had the smell of sewage for weeks on end, it didn’t get fixed,” Sullivan said. “I didn’t call codes when I had sewage in my basement. I didn’t call codes for the very simple reason that I had no protections against getting evicted.”
Jerry Maldonado, resident and building owner, expressed his support for passage of this law.
“As a landlord of a small family building I want to say that I enthusiastically support Good Cause eviction,” Maldonado said. “Landlords are not all against this.”
Rene Mejia, Jr., a long time resident of Newburgh, passionately spoke about the love for his city and the importance of passage for this law. “I was born here, I will continue to live here as long as I can if I don’t ever get evicted,” Mejia, Jr. said. “I urge you on the city council to listen to the tenants. We can throw numbers around all day but at the end of the night 68% of people here in the city of Newburgh are renters.”
Mayor Harvey, Councilwoman Patricia Sofokles, Councilman Omari Shakur, Councilman Anthony Grice, Councilwoman Karen Mejia, and Councilwoman Ramona Monteverde voted in favor of the addition of the law. Councilman Robert Sklarz abstained from voting on the motion on the law.