ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Prohibiting eviction without good cause on a state level was a central theme Tuesday night at City Hall.
Lawmakers and tenants hosted a forum to talk about the “Good Cause Eviction” bill.
The law — if passed — would help provide tenants with protections and challenge any unjust practices of landlords, like rent hikes, severe code violations, or intimidation tactics. All of this comes after City Council voted down a local version of “Good Cause” last month.
The Rochester delegation to the New York State Legislature, 1199 SEIU, and community groups will host a community town hall Tuesday night on statewide Good Cause Eviction Protections.
Dozens shared their stories Tuesday from various properties across the city. Stories of code violations big and small, with neglectful landlords at the core.
Assemblyman Demond Meeks (D-137) says “Good Cause” — if passed — will help provide guaranteed protection for tenants across New York.
“This will also push for a more even playing field as it relates to tenants having a voice,” Meeks said.
Avocates say this is the first step to addressing housing instability. They say if housing instability is addressed, then other community problems can help get solved, like drug addictions, violence, and mental health, to name a few.
“I don’t want to see [anybody else] out on the streets!” said one tenant at the podium.
Barbara Rivera with Citizen Action says there are a lot of landlords who live outside the city, even outside the state. That, she says, causes a disconnect.
“They have absolutely no idea what’s going on with their properties. They’re hiring these people who have no idea how to maintain the property,” Rivera said.
Meeks says his passion for passing “Good Cause” comes from shared experience.
“When you had slumlords that just didn’t take care of the property,” he said.
And Meeks is not alone in pushing for “Good Cause.”
“We have a number of legislators who have signed on as co-sponsors to this legislation,” Meeks said.
Supporters include Assemblymembers Harry Bronson, Sarah Clarke, and Senator Samra Brouk.
“We’re going to put pressure on the powers that be, and move it on up the ladder,” Meeks said.
Meeks and other lawmakers are heading back to Albany on April 25. According to the City-Wide Tenant Union, Rochester currently has more than 3,000 open eviction cases, impacting close to 7,000 residents.