ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The law that would prevent landlords from evicting tenants without good cause was voted down by Rochester City Council Tuesday.

According to the City-Wide Tenant Union, Rochester currently has more than 3,000 open eviction cases, impacting close to 7,000 residents.

‘Good Cause Eviction’ would essentially give tenants the right to renew tenancy, while protecting against retaliatory evictions. If it was voted in, the legislation would also prevent rent increases of 5% or more.

Landlords would be required to justify eviction with “good cause,” such as tenants being a nuisance, harming others, or not paying rent. Renters, however, would be given ability to explain why they believe they’ve been a good tenant under the legislation’s holdover eviction clause.

In a 6-3 vote against passing the law, councilmembers heard from both advocates, as well as some landlords who oppose it.

“For some reason we aren’t seeming to weigh that huge majority that would be impacted by the law,” Lisle Coleman with City-Wide Tenant Union said. “This law isn’t crazy, we aren’t bullies just calling for the moms of their communities to be able to stay in their homes.”

Rochester-based landlord Matthew Drouin says the law is not supported by more than just property owners.

“This proposed legislation is a disaster,” Drouin said. “Many do not support housing providers don’t support it, neighborhood associations don’t, legal community doesn’t and even affordable housing developers don’t. So why haven’t we heard from developers? It’s because they’re afraid of being loud-mouthed and bullied.”

If Rochester’s City Council had passed “Good Cause,” it would be the largest city in New York to do so. Four other cities in the state passed the bill in 2021, including Albany. 

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.