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Community Voices Heard Condemns Court Decision Overturning Albany Tenant Protections

Updated: Jan 9, 2023

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Contact: Alison Wilkey, 646-541-4991, alison@cvhaction.org


June 30, 2022 (POUGHKEEPSIE, NY) – Community Voices Heard (CVH) condemns the decision of the Supreme Court of Albany for subverting democracy and overturning an Albany “Good Cause Eviction” law that protects renters from eviction.


In Pusatere et al v. The City of Albany et al., Index No. 909653/21 the court found that Albany did not have the power to pass a law prohibiting landlords from evicting residents without good cause because existing State law preempts it. While this was only a decision from the lowest court level, it leaves Albany residents without the protections that Albany tenants and their local elected officials enacted.


“This ruling is saying: the court doesn’t care about tenants, low-income people, people who don’t own property. They expect us to live in slumlord’s apartments with no rights and no accountability? That’s not fair and it’s not right!” said CVH member Charlene Smart.


“Good Cause Eviction legislation in Beacon and other cities in New York State have protected tenants at a time when rising rents and gentrification threaten their homes and our communities. One judge's decision to strike down Albany’s Good Cause Eviction law will immediately jeopardize the housing stability of tenants in Albany and has potential to disrupt the protections that Beacon and other cities across the Hudson Valley chose to create.” said CVH member Erin Ashoka. “This ruling creates even more urgency for Governor Hochul, Speaker Heastie, and Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins to pass Good Cause Eviction at the state level and ensure that all New York state residents have their basic human right to housing protected.”


“Once again, a court has overturned the will of the people. Albany tenants fought hard to pass laws to address their housing crisis – just like tenants in Newburgh, Beacon, and Poughkeepsie,” said CVH Executive Director Juanita O. Lewis. “This puts tenants immediately at risk of eviction. State elected officials cannot continue to ignore the housing crisis.”


After today’s decision, the State must immediately act to pass statewide eviction protections. The State legislature ended the legislative session this year without addressing the urgent housing crisis for renters. In the absence of action by our State elected officials, this court decision leaves Albany residents vulnerable to eviction.


CVH members in Newburgh, Beacon and Poughkeepsie fought for and won similar "Good Cause Eviction" laws that protect renters from being evicted without reason. Given this decision, we are deeply concerned about potential attacks on the laws in Beacon, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie and elsewhere. These cities have tried to address their housing crises and provide basic protections to keep people in their homes.


The State legislature must reconvene this year to pass "Good Cause" protections statewide.


Thank you to the Legal Aid Society for defending the rights of tenants and representing Community Voices Heard and the interests of our members in this case. Together with our partners at Legal Aid Society and the Housing Justice for All coalition, we will continue to fight for all New York state tenants.


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