FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 29, 2022
Common Council Passes Emergency Tenant Protection Act,
Mayor Signs into Law
The City of Kingston is First Municipality North of Rockland County to Pass ETPA Legislation
KINGSTON, NY – Mayor Steven T. Noble is pleased to announce that he has signed the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) legislation into law in the City of Kingston.
The City’s Department of Housing Initiatives will oversee the implementation of ETPA in coordination with the New York State’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Kingston is the first New York municipality to opt into ETPA north of Rockland County.
“I am pleased to be able to codify this legislation and to implement these tenant protections here in Kingston,” said Mayor Noble. “We have known we have a housing crisis in Kingston, 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. With this law, there are more than 1,200 rental units that are now entitled to rent stabilization.”
Council President Andrea Shaut said, “Declaring a housing crisis and opting into the ETPA is a step in the right direction. Although it does not resolve the crisis for all tenants, this will make a significant difference for many of our community members and neighbors. This cannot be the end though. We need to seriously look at long term solutions to help all our neighbors in their right to housing, and I look forward to working with my colleagues and community members on such goals. In the present time, however, I implore folks to step up and apply for the Rent Guidelines Board, to be a part of the solutions.”
Common Council member Barbara Hill (Ward 1) said, “Many residents in Ward 1 have expressed their support for the passage of the ETPA, as they fully recognize our housing emergency in Kingston both personally and as concerned citizens. Rent stabilization available under the ETPA won’t solve the housing crisis that we are experiencing, but it will be one component of a more holistic plan that includes eviction protections, education, mediation, stronger restrictions on short-term rentals, zoning changes, and efforts to create the development of low-income housing that is affordable and permanent.”
Common Council member Michele Hirsch (Ward 9) said, “Thank you to Mayor Noble and Bartek Starodaj, Director of Housing Initiatives for conducting the Vacancy Study which has demonstrated that the City of Kingston does in fact have an a Housing Emergency. I applaud my colleagues on the Common Council for voting yes to declare a Housing Emergency and opt into the Emergency Tenant Protection Act of 1974 (ETPA). In opting in to the EPTA, we can protect tenants that live in buildings with six or more units, built prior to 1974. I look forward to this helping to stop the displacement of long standing community members due to rapid gentrification and skyrocketing rents.”
Bartek Starodaj, City of Kingston’s Director of Housing Initiatives said, “All Kingston residents deserve the dignity of safe, clean, and stable housing. This is an important step forward for housing security and affordability in the City of Kingston.”
“We applaud Mayor Steve Noble and the Kingston Council for taking this step to protect housing affordability. This will benefit long-term residents whether owners or renters. The only people this won’t help are corporate landlords,” said Jonathan Bix, Executive Director at For the Many.
Earlier this year, the City of Kingston surveyed properties built before 1974 with six or more rental units to determine how many apartments are vacant, how many are occupied, and how many are vacant but not available to rent. According to the survey data, Kingston has a net vacancy rate of 1.57% for this class of rental properties. The full vacancy report and methodology can be found here.
Based on the results of the study, the City of Kingston was eligible to declare a housing emergency and opt into the New York State Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA). The rental protections under ETPA can only be applied to buildings constructed prior to 1974 with six or more units. When rent stabilization under ETPA is in place, the annual allowable rental increases would be determined by a City Rent Guidelines Board. The operation of rent stabilized units is also regulated by other rules, including building maintenance standards and penalties, lease renewals, and capital improvements.
According to the State’s guidelines, the City of Kingston will be establishing a Rent Guidelines Board, which will be made up of two tenant representatives, two property owner representatives, and five members of the public, and will meet annually to set guidelines for rent adjustments. The application and process to volunteer for the Rent Guidelines Board will be announced next week.
Mayor Noble established the Department of Housing Initiatives in 2018 to support housing planning in the City of Kingston. The Department manages housing-related grants, supports the construction of new market-rate and affordable housing, develops policies to protect existing residents, and addresses the connection between housing and sustainability, health, and mobility. The Department also reviews the disposition of city-owned property suitable for housing development and collaborates with local and regional housing organizations. Current projects include city-wide rezoning efforts, the Tiny Homes Project, Good Cause Eviction, short-term rental guidelines and more. Visit https://kingston-ny.gov/housing.