Housing in Brief: Local Good Cause Shut Down In New York State

Also, a federal bill to ban source of income discrimination.

(Photo by Wenhao Ryan / Unsplash)

Good Cause Blocked in Poughkeepsie and Albany

On March 2, New York State’s highest court shut down a Good Cause law enacted in 2021 in the city of Albany on the basis that it runs afoul of the state’s Real Property Law. The only element of the law that remains intact, per the judge’s ruling, is a provision that requires landlords to properly register their apartments before they can carry out an eviction.

On March 8, a judge in Poughkeepsie shut down that city’s Good Cause law on similar grounds, according to City Limits. Another Good Cause law in Newburgh was shut down in December. The court orders will lead to more pressure on Governor Hochul and the state legislature to pass a statewide Good Cause law. In a statement, Brahvan Ranga, political director of the advocacy group For The Many said, “Let’s be clear: These lawsuits have nothing to do with Good Cause’s merits. No judge has ruled that barring evictions and large rent hikes without a good cause is illegal. They have only ruled that the state legislature, not cities, must pass Good Cause.” Hochul, meanwhile, has been hesitant to endorse Good Cause.

Nydia Velázquez Introduces Bill To Address Source of Income Discrimination

Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez introduced legislation this week meant to crack down on landlords who refuse to rent to people with housing vouchers, Gothamist reports. The bill would also fine landlords for leaving apartments vacant, according to the outlet, and provide tax credits to building owners who rehab affordable housing. A previous version of the bill also sought to establish a national complaint line for tenants in multifamily housing.

Some cities, like New York City, already have local laws that prohibit source of income discrimination, but most states still have no such laws and no federal requirement exists. Velàzquez’s bill would add source of income as a protected category to the Fair Housing Act, likely strengthening local ordinances if jurisdictions want to bring lawsuits.

Anti-Camping Bills Floating in Kansas and Georgia

A statewide anti-camping ordinance was introduced in Kansas, and another anti-camping bill is being advanced in Georgia. Both bills prevent any local jurisdictions in their respective states from preempting statewide anti-camping bans. The Georgia bill also requires audits of spending on homeless services, a task that’s mostly redundant with existing record-keeping, according to The Current. The bills resemble similar legislation passed in Tennessee and Missouri. Though they’ve all gone through their own share of local revisions, all the laws share some language with model legislation introduced by a conservative, Austin, Texas based think tank, as described by a Stateline report last year.

This article is part of Backyard, a newsletter exploring scalable solutions to make housing fairer, more affordable and more environmentally sustainable. Subscribe to our weekly Backyard newsletter.

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Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.

Tags: new yorkpolicygeorgiakansas

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