What is the Good Cause Eviction Bill in NY?

The Good Cause Eviction Bill in New York is a new bill that is being introduced in the State Senate and seeks to expand tenants’ rights across New York State. In July 2021, Albany claimed a small victory by passing a “good cause eviction" measure that would cap annual rent increases at 5% as well as outline other conditions that must be met for a landlord to evict a tenant. This measure is the first of its kind to be passed in New York, and now the question is whether the rest of New York State is next.

What Does the Good Cause Eviction Bill Propose?

The New York Good Cause Eviction Bill proposes several expansions for tenants' rights throughout the entire state, including:

  • Tenants can’t be evicted without an order from a judge. The judge decides if an eviction is for “ good cause”, the criteria for which are outlined in the bill.

  • Tenants can’t be evicted for nonpayment of rent if an “unreasonable” increase in rent occurred. “Unreasonable” is defined as an increase exceeding 3% of the annual rent or 150% of the region’s Consumer Price Index, whichever is higher.

  • Tenants would have the right to lease renewals, with the exemption of owner-occupied buildings with fewer than 4 units.

What Doesn’t the Good Cause Eviction Bill Do?

  • It doesn’t protect tenants who break the terms of their lease.

  • Personal use by the landlord is considered a good cause for eviction, if households have fewer than 12 units.

  • It doesn’t protect tenants from rent increases based on other things besides rent (e.g. capital repair costs, fees, etc).

  • It doesn’t regulate the rent in between tenancies. Every time someone moves, the apartment would reset to the market rate rent.

  • It doesn’t create a regulatory agency that would oversee rents. That is, tenants would have to enforce good cause eviction themselves. For example, a tenant can challenge an “ unconscionable” rent increase in a lease before a judge.

Why is the Good Cause Eviction Bill Being Proposed?

The bill is designed to protect small landlords and/or homeowners, while taking on corporate landlords that are buying up homes. By slowing speculation, it would help first-time homebuyers compete in the market. Passing controversial bills during an election year is a hard sell, especially for more moderate legislators who would prefer to wait until their seats are secure before announcing their support for the bill. In New York State, where at least 100 families are evicted each day and 92,000 people are homeless, such a bill would help protect New York’s 8 million renters.