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"Good Cause" Legislation vote pushed back to December

  • 04:24 PM ET - 11/29/2021
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    On Nov. 10, the planning and economic development committee discussed the “Prohibition of Eviction without Good Cause” legislation. This bill was originally passed in Albany, but to better suit Ithaca, 1st ward alderperson Cynthia Brock rewrote the original bill.

  • 04:24 PM ET - 11/29/2021
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    To clarify, Brock’s legislation is not to be confused with the “Right to Renew” legislation that was proposed by the Ithaca Tenant’s Union (ITU). According to Brock, the ITU’s bill requires that tenants have a guaranteed right to renew their lease. The only option mentioned in their bill would be eviction, which is costly and time consuming.

  • 04:25 PM ET - 11/29/2021
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    “What ITU is saying is that everyone has a right to a renewal of lease, regardless of behavior.”

  • 04:25 PM ET - 11/29/2021
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    Brock said that there is an expectation of behavior on part of the tenants, and if that expectation isn’t met, then a non-renewal of a lease would be more efficient as opposed to the eviction process.

  • 04:25 PM ET - 11/29/2021
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    Brock’s bill, however, offers a way for relationships between tenants and landlords to grow positively. “Notice of non-renewal for good cause would actual entail landlords to be more proactive, asking tenants to address or even understand their behavior,” Brock said.

  • 04:25 PM ET - 11/29/2021
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    The bill itself has undergone several changes since it was introduced to the common council. One section of the bill that changed is section 258-17, subsection 9a, describing the timing of a landlord offering a lease renewal to the tenant.

  • 04:25 PM ET - 11/29/2021
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    The original language of this section states, “The proposed written lease must have been offered to the tenant in writing on at least two occasions at least two weeks apart, not sooner than 120 days before the end of the tenant’s current lease term…”

  • 04:25 PM ET - 11/29/2021
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    Under the newly amended version of the bill, the section now reads, “The proposed written lease must have been offered to the tenant in writing on at least two occasions at least two weeks apart…”

  • 04:25 PM ET - 11/29/2021
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    According to Brock, this new language is problematic in that it is too broad and can lead to a limited time for landlords and tenants to make appropriate plans. Brock used the example of college students, where rather than having at least 120 days to look for a new house should they not accept a lease renewal, they can be going blindly into a lease because of a lack of time to research a new home efficiently.

  • 04:26 PM ET - 11/29/2021
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    Brock also wanted to make the point that the bill is not rent control. “This is called rent stabilization,” she said.

  • 04:26 PM ET - 11/29/2021
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    “By being able to provide these tenants who have done right, and to have a predictable rate of increase, will allow stability for their futures and their participation in the community,” she said. “This is a community good; this covers a whole variety of quality life issues, which is why I think it’s really essential we implement good cause.”

  • 04:26 PM ET - 11/29/2021
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    After many community members shared their thoughts about the bill, the council decided to vote on the bill in the coming weeks.