Recently, the NYS Legislature passed the Housing Stability and Tenant Act of 2019 (HSTA). It is a set of updates to a number of tenant protection laws. It was a nice step in New York recognizing that housing is a human right. You can get a summation of the law here.
But there is an opportunity to solidify this right in Rochester.
The Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 (ETPA) allows municipalities to adopt even stronger rent, eviction, and maintenance tenant protections. The ETPA allows for:
- A Rent Guidelines Board to establish rent control within a municipality.
- Further eviction protections to make sure tenants are not evicted without just cause.
- Allowances for a reduction in rent if a landlord reduces services.
Thanks to HSTA, Rochester can now opt into the ETPA. This would effectively double the number of rent regulated tenants in the City of Rochester as the Rochester City-Wide Tenant Union estimates that ETPA would affect between 9,000 – 12,000 units.
Important Note: This would only apply to buildings that are 6 or more units, built before 1974, AND not already regulated by the State or Federal government.
To adopt ETPA, there must be a rental vacancy survey done by an independent entity. The survey must show a rental vacancy rate of less than 5% in the specific units that would fall under ETPA. Then, Rochester City Council would have to pass a local resolution in favor of ETPA followed by the Mayor signing off.
I have begun working with like-minded activists in Rochester to make ETPA a reality in Rochester and when elected to City Council, I will vote in favor of adopting ETPA. For a further understanding of my philosophy on housing, read my complete platform plank.