Elected Officials and Tenants Rally for Good Cause Eviction, Citing New Data

Over half of market-rate renters faced rent hikes last year because of state inaction on Good Cause Eviction
Rents keep getting higher but conditions aren’t getting any better, according to new Community Service Society Report

Brooklyn – Elected officials, tenants, and community groups held a press conference today calling for the passage of statewide Good Cause Eviction in this year’s state budget, citing new data from the Community Service Society (CSS). Good Cause Eviction would protect nearly every New York tenant from rent hikes and unjust evictions.

CSS’s new report, titled ‘No Good Cause, No Rent Pause,’ finds that after the State failed to pass a meaningful housing package including Good Cause Eviction last year, unprotected renters have been left out in the cold. Findings include:

  • In 2023, 56% of market-rate tenants – who lack any protections from rent hikes or eviction – said they faced rent hikes.
  • Rents are going up, but for unprotected tenants, living conditions aren’t getting any better. There was no connection between rising rents and improved living conditions. Rent regulated tenants were more likely to report a correlation between the two than market rate tenants.
  • 35% percent of all market-rate tenants said that they were already behind on rent or were about to fall behind.
  • In a housing stock already prone to overcrowding, 1 in 5 market rate renters said they would likely have to move in with other people to afford rent. 

Elected officials at the press conference included Senator Julia Salazar (lead Senate sponsor of Good Cause), Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, New York City Comptroller Brad Lander, City Councilmember Shahana Hanif, and Carlos Calzadilla, District Director for Senator Andrew Gounardes.

The press conference was held at an apartment building in Brooklyn, 63 Tiffany Place, where working class tenants fear sudden, massive rent increases when their building’s rent stabilization agreement expires, which is tied to a LIHTC tax credit. One tenant, John Levya, has lived in the building for nearly 30 years. Without protections from rent hikes, John, his disabled son, and his neighbors are likely to be forced out of their homes and neighborhood. John spoke out at the press conference on the necessity of passing Good Cause Evictions to keep New York families like his in their homes.

A Siena poll this week found that cost of living and affordable housing are two of New Yorkers’ top concerns. New York City currently faces the lowest housing vacancy rate in over 50 years, a rate that is even lower for low-cost housing. Landlords are taking advantage of renters’ desperation in a historically tight market by price-gouging renters, who are fleeing the city in droves in search of lower housing costs in response. Good Cause Eviction would protect tenants from price-gouging and preserve New York’s supply of affordable housing.

Earlier this month, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund endorsed Good Cause Eviction, citing its ability to stabilize Black renters and Black neighborhoods. A May 2022 poll found two thirds of likely voters across New York state support Good Cause Eviction.

Samuel Stein, Senior Policy Analyst for the Community Service Society said: “The data is clear: another year without Good Cause has meant another year of rising rents and hardships for market-rate tenants. Most market rate tenants saw their rents rise, but three quarters of them so no improvement in their apartment or building. The legislature needs to get serious about tenant protections and pass Good Cause now.”

John Levya, a tenant at 63 Tiffany Place who is facing rent hikes said: “Good Cause would save our homes here at 63 Tiffany Place – and if it doesn’t pass, we will in all likelihood end up in the street. This city would not find itself in this Housing Crisis had we passed Good Cause Eviction 10 or 20 years ago. In any crisis situation the first step is to stop the bleeding and prevent it from spreading. Any sensible housing plan should start, first and foremost, with saving the existing affordable housing we presently have, keeping rents down & keeping tenants in their existing homes – and that’s exactly what Good Cause does.”

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, Chair of the Assembly Committee on Housing said: "The residents of 63 Tiffany Place are experiencing what is all too common across the state: massive rent hikes that will force families and elderly people out of the homes they have lived in for years. As we grapple with a worsening housing and affordability crisis, tenants need stability and protection against price-gouging and unwarranted evictions now more than ever. Any housing deal passed as part of our state budget must include tenant protections and ensure that tenants are not left behind."

Senator Julia Salazar, lead sponsor of the Good Cause Evictions Bill said: “This exactingly researched report substantiates the warnings we have been raising all along. Obstinate opposition to meaningfully addressing our housing crisis is only ratcheting up the pressure on renters, pushing more working New Yorkers out of their homes, and further destabilizing our neighborhoods, especially Black and Brown ones like ours. We take no pleasure in being proven right, and we redouble our calls to pass comprehensive housing reform, the centerpiece of which must be Good Cause Eviction. Without Good Cause Eviction’s strong tenant protections, the problems this report highlights will only get worse.”

Senator Andrew Gounardes, who represents 63 Tiffany Place, said: "New Yorkers should be able to go to sleep each night without worrying that they might be pushed out of their home the following morning at the whims of a greedy landlord. The neighbors fighting to stay in their homes at 63 Tiffany Place should not have to fight at all. They—and all New Yorkers—deserve Good Cause eviction protections so they and their families can rest easy without worrying about eviction. We're facing a housing affordability crisis in New York, and we need to act now."

Assemblymember Jo Anne Simon, who represents 63 Tiffany Place said: “It's egregious that tenants don’t have protections from unjust evictions and massive rent increases, instigated by buyers such as private equity firms. Our long-term neighbors at 63 Tiffany Place in Brooklyn shouldn’t be displaced from the very community they helped create. The Good Cause Eviction bill will help address our housing crisis by helping people stay in their homes, and protecting tenants from price-gouging while preserving New York's supply of affordable housing. I stand united with a strong coalition of tenants, colleagues, and advocates to push for these reforms.”

New York City Comptroller Brad Lander said: "Unregulated tenants from Downtown Brooklyn to Buffalo are at constant risk of housing instability because of the looming threat of lease non-renewals and rent hikes amidst the gravest housing crisis in recent memory. The low-income and working-class tenants at 63 Tiffany Place have few options without Good Cause Eviction. Because of State Senator Salazar, Housing Justice for All, and the countless tenant-advocates who are shepherding this life-saving bill, we can hopefully pass Good Cause Eviction this legislative session and keep housing secure for thousands of tenants across the state."

Assemblymember Marcela Mitaynes said: “I want to commend the tenants and advocates of 63 Tiffany for their efforts to exercise their right to stay. I have stood where you are now, I understand the fear and anxiety that comes with knowing your landlord is trying to actively evict you. I was evicted from my rent-stabilized apartment of 30 years. This was after countless efforts by the landlord to displace tenants. Tenants need protections. As elected officials, it is our responsibility to advocate for our communities. Across New York State tenants have been calling for Good Cause Eviction. It is time the state legislature listen to them and pass Good Cause.”

City Councilmember Shahana Hanif said: “63 Tiffany Place serves as a prime example of why we need to pass Good Cause legislation. Longtime residents of 63 Tiffany Place, one of the few affordable housing buildings in the Columbia Waterfront neighborhood, have been in limbo facing potential eviction due to the pending expiration of their building’s LIHTC agreement. Access to safe, dignified, affordable housing is foundational and inextricably linked to tenants’ mental health and well-being. We need to pass Good Cause to ensure that no New Yorker, at 63 Tiffany Place or across this City, lives in fear of price gouging or unjust eviction.”