KINGSTON – The City of Kingston has been a desired spot for Big Apple residents wanting to flee congestion for better health and a different life.
And this has brought gentrification to Kingston and higher rents for those who can’t afford these housing spikes.
Now Mayor Steve Noble is proposing good cause legislation, to be discussed by a common council committee later this month, which will protect tenants from exorbitant rent increases.
“We want to make sure our tenants are protected from huge rent increases, that they are given an opportunity to have a lease, that they have the opportunity to have their day in court and explain to a judge they have been good tenants, paid their bills and done everything they can to stay in their housing,” he said. “That then puts the burden on the landlord to prove that they haven’t.”
Noble is also proposing a baseline five percent increase, so the landlord can pay the bills without turning out tenants for what the market will bear.
“You can raise rents five percent. Above that it would be considered an unconscionable rent increase,” he said.
And during an eviction proceeding, it can be determined if any hike, from less than five percent to as high as say 50 percent, may be justified.
“And the judge would look at that and based on this new legislation could determine it was an unconscionable increase then and not allow the eviction proceeding to move forward.”
Noble is especially concerned about building purchases that are followed by rent increases deliberately designed to drive out existing tenants for higher-paying ones.
“Because the landlord purchases a building and says we want a $1,000 more a month for rent. That’s not a good reason and a good cause just because the property changes hands,” he said. “We think that’s an important component of this.”