Kingston Common Council votes for rent control

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KINGSTON – By a seven to one vote, the Kingston Common Council Thursday voted to adopt the Emergency Tenant Protection Act, which allows upstate cities to establish rent control for rental properties with six or more units that were built before 1974 if their apartment vacancy rate is below five percent.

A survey conducted in April and May found the city had a net vacancy rate of 1.57 percent for those properties.

The annual allowable rental increases will be determined by the Ulster County rent guidelines board, which will include nine members – two landlords, two tenants, and five members of the general public.

Jonathan Bix, executive director of the grassroots group For the Many said the action would impact 1,200 rental units in Kingston.

He said the new policy “will benefit long-term residents whether owners or residents. The only people this won’t help are corporate landlords.”

Brahvan Ranga, political director of For the Many, is hopeful other cities will follow Kingston’s lead “and do everything possible to protect tenants.”

He said, though, that there needs to be “stronger action at the state level, including through the passage of Good Cause Eviction.

Mayor Steven Noble said the city has long known it has a housing crisis “and this is yet another step we are taking to protect our residents and make sure that everyone who wishes to live in Kingston is able to.”