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Gov. Hochul Should Reject The Good Cause Eviction Bill With Housing Crisis Looming Large

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Ulster Strong and Hudson Valley Economic Development Corporation Say Bill Would Stifle Development of Much-Needed Housing

By Meagan P. Bianco & Mike Oates

Local Hudson Valley officials are urging New York State Governor Gov Kathy Hochul to support the ‘Good Cause Eviction’ bill. We think it’s a bad idea.

This legislation, introduced a second time after failing to win a majority last year, imposes sweeping state-wide rent control and applies to both old apartments and new construction. Further, this bill would create a huge disincentive to build desperately needed housing, unless heavily subsidized by you, the taxpayers.

As proposed, it will restrict the already very tight housing supply, resulting in a terrible squeeze on anyone wishing to remain a New York state resident, and especially on the middle class and the economy those residents support. As the bill is written, there will be very few exemptions, such as owner-occupied premises with less than four units.

Just the consideration of the proposed “Good Cause” bill has stifled new housing development in New York and in the Hudson Valley.

We have seen numerous examples where rent control doesn’t work. St Paul, MN recently introduced rent control that famously backfired with a dramatic slowdown (by 48%) in new housing construction.  NYC’s rent control hasn’t kept housing costs down for most, and city housing courts are so backlogged it can take up to two years to resolve cases.

Ironically, the Good Cause Eviction bill does little to protect tenants, aside from rent control, that doesn’t already exist. And frustratingly, this bill will have the unintended consequence of harming those it was intended to protect. Property owners will set higher qualification standards to rent their apartments, reducing, rather than growing the number of units accessible to lower-income families. For example, renters might need a credit score of 800 or an income of 3x the rent, all due to the bill’s requirements guaranteeing perpetual lease renewals.

Statistically, housing construction permit rates in New York State are much slower than the rest of the nation and slowing down more. Areas in New York State that have recently added the most housing, like White Plains and New Rochelle that added more than 11% in new housing over the last five years, have had the lowest rises in rents and homelessness compared to elsewhere in the State. In once unaffordable Austin, TX, new home construction has caught up with demand and now rents are coming down and landlords are offering new tenant incentives. It is simple supply and demand.

Before we consider extreme measures like statewide rent control and the ‘Good Cause Eviction’ law, we urge state and local governments to streamline new construction for workforce and middle-income housing, and ‘affordable’ housing. It’s time to look at housing solutions comprehensively rather than resorting to failed solutions of the past.

Mike Oates is president and CEO of Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp. & Meagan P. Bianco coordinates Ulster Strong