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Poughkeepsie Common Council approves rent stabilization mechanism

POUGHKEEPSIE – In a unanimous vote Tuesday evening, the Poughkeepsie Common Council adopted the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) to establish rent stabilization.

The vote followed a housing vacancy study conducted by the city that found a vacancy rate of 4.03 percent. Under ETPA, municipalities with a vacancy rate under five percent are eligible to declare a housing emergency and opt into rent stabilization.

The Emergency Tenant Protection Act is expected to apply to about 1,500 units built before 1974 that contain six units or more.

The council must now submit to the state a list of candidates to serve on a rent guidelines board. That list of candidates must include tenants, landlords and property owners, and public representatives. The council has 30 days in which to provide its recommendations to the state for its concurrent approval.

Poughkeepsie resident Daniel Atonna, political coordinator at For the Many, one of the grassroots organizations pushing for the tenant protection, called the common council vote “A huge win for tenants and the entire city.”

“This is such an exciting moment that we’ve been working towards for so long,” said Community Voices Heard member Linda Bartee.

“I’ve been a Poughkeepsie resident for more than 40 years, and I live in a building in Ward 3 that is eligible for rent stabilization. While I’ve lived here, I’ve seen our rents rise much faster than our incomes,” she said following the council vote.

“My neighbors and I can rest a little easier in our homes tonight. But the fight isn’t over yet – we’ll continue to organize to expand these protections for all Poughkeepsie tenants,” she said.

Lawmakers also introduced a resolution to adopt a version of the Good Cause Eviction law, which would expand tenant protections to renters who are not covered by ETPA, as it would apply to buildings that contain fewer than six units and were built before 2009.

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