The public comment period of the November 16 Ulster County Legislature meeting was dominated by demands for a Good Cause Eviction law protecting renters after similar laws were recently passed in Poughkeepsie, Newburgh and Albany.
A Good Cause Eviction law, Local law number 7 of 2021 was first proposed by County Legislator Abe Uchitelle of Kingston. If enacted, the law would prevent a landlord from removing a tenant from a housing accommodation without a court order. The law also seeks to limit unreasonable rent increases and help prevent intimidation of tenants by landlords. It comes as the area struggles with a growing housing crisis that has received national attention.
Diana Lopez, a community organizer for the group For the Many, a not-for-profit formerly known as Nobody Leaves Mid-Hudson that states on its website its main areas of advocacy are immigration, racial justice, housing, healthcare, climate and energy and economic justice, said she was happy Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Albany passed good cause eviction laws. She said she’s previously shared stories of the landlords she’s gone through and she was deeply disappointed it wasn’t on the agenda for this month’s meeting. “I’m here to ask the legislature to set a public hearing so folks can come out,” she said. She fears what will happen when the eviction moratorium expires in January. “There will be even more families in the street and children will need to change schools in the middle of the year,” she predicted. “We really need to step this up as other places did to get his passed.”
Isaiah Morris who lives on the border of Kingston and the town of Ulster, and also volunteers for For the Many, came to push the legislature to host a public hearing on Good Cause Eviction.