Many tenants who testified in favor of a rent reduction at the hearings were Stony Run residents. Their apartment complex is the largest ETPA-eligible one in Kingston, and was bought last year by real estate investment firm Aker Companies. Despite promising “very very minimal” rent increases, Aker has raised rents by as much as 67%, levied arbitrary fees, and neglected basic maintenance. This led Stony Run tenants — with the support of For the Many — to form a tenant union. Last Friday, members of its organizing committee traveled to Beacon to deliver a list of demands to Aker’s office.
“This is a monumental victory not just for Kingston tenants, but for tenants across New York,” said Aaron Narraph Fernando, communications lead at For the Many. “Any reduction in rents would have been historic, but the capacity for a 15% reduction to provide substantive relief to thousands of people cannot be overstated. We applaud the Rent Guidelines Board for their vote after hearing from more than seventy tenants, homeowners, and experts overwhelmingly in favor of a rent reduction. From seniors facing outrageous rent hikes, to pregnant moms thrown out on the street, to Stony Run residents receiving literal blackmail letters, Board members couldn’t ignore the stories of Kingston tenants. We’re excited for the reduction’s implementation and for the rest of the state to follow in Kingston’s footsteps. Rent stabilization and Good Cause are the keys to New York’s future.”