FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 10, 2023
Court Upholds City of Kingston’s Emergency Housing Declaration
KINGSTON, NY – Mayor Steven T. Noble is pleased to announce that the City of Kingston has successfully defended a lawsuit against the 2022 Vacancy Study, and the City’s subsequent Housing Emergency Declaration, which allowed Kingston to opt into the Emergency Tenant Protect Act.
The State Supreme Court Judge ruled in favor of the City of Kingston and the validity of the City’s 2022 Vacancy Study.
Mayor Steve Noble said, “Thousands of ETPA tenants here in Kingston can sleep a little better tonight knowing that Kingston’s Declaration of a Housing Emergency, the first in Upstate New York, has withstood judicial review. We all know that Kingston is in a housing emergency that our well-managed and professional vacancy survey clearly documented.
The Court’s decision today allows for the 1200+ housing units to continue to receive benefits from the Emergency Tenant Protection Act. While the Rent Guidelines Board and the NYS Division of Homes and Community Renewal will likely have to meet again to reconsider the “look back period” and what, if any, rental increases will be awarded in the future, this decision firmly protects our most vulnerable residents and remains an important tool that we will continue to utilize in the future. I strongly recommend other communities who have had similar issues to move forward with housing emergency legislation to ensure their residents can have these same protections.
I would like to thank Barbara Graves-Poller and the Corporation Counsel Office for all their hard work on defending our tenants’ rights, and Bartek Starodaj, the City of Kingston’s tireless Director of Housing Initiatives.”
Bartek Starodaj, the City of Kingston’s tireless Director of Housing Initiatives, said “I am deeply pleased by today’s decision. It reaffirms what we already knew: The vacancy survey performed by Housing Initiatives was sound and accurate. The City’s declaration of a housing emergency to provide stability and tenant protections to those that need it most was appropriate. We must now move forward together to enacting and enforcing ETPA in the City and continuing our focus on other important housing actions, including adopting the proposed citywide form-based code.”
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. Based on the results, Kingston was eligible to declare a housing emergency and opt into the New York State ETPA. The rental protections under ETPA can only be applied to buildings constructed prior to 1974 with six or more units. The full vacancy report and methodology can be found here.
The City’s Department of Housing Initiatives has been overseeing the implementation of ETPA in coordination with New York State’s DHCR. A fact sheet can be found here here. For additional information about the implementation process and resources in Spanish, see https://hcr.ny.gov/city-of-kingston-adopts-etpa.
Mayor Noble established the Department of Housing Initiatives in 2020 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.