Lawmakers are inching closer to approving a bill that would fundamentally tip the balance of power in favor of renters over landlords.

Creating what’s known as Good Cause Eviction bill has been on the wish list of housing advocates for several years. But in this legislative session, their wish may actually come true as Albany lawmakers look for ways to include it in a larger package of bills affecting housing.

“I think in the state Assembly, Good Cause, along with all the other housing proposals, that the Assembly has put forward, has a real good chance,” says Democratic Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal, who chairs the Housing Committee.

What You Need To Know

  • Good Cause Eviction, which has been rejected by the legislature in years past, may have a chance of passing in this year’s budget

  • The legislation would give greater rights to tenants, including by limiting evictions

  • Property owners say it fundamentally shifts the balance of power away from landlords and toward tenants

The bill would establish automatic lease renewals for renters, unless a landlord had a good reason not to renew, such as failure to pay rent. It would also limit evictions.

Groups representing property owners have been fighting against the Good Cause Eviction bill in Albany for years.

“I think it’s a very sweeping piece of legislation that changes our real estate just in general,” says Timothy Foley of the Building and Realty Institute of Westchester. “It affects members of ours who are potentially home builders. Builders of new housing, builders of rental apartments. They are concerned about how they would get their projects financed and moved forward. It affects co-op and condo boards. And it very much changes the relationship between landlords and tenants in a fundamental way.”

Housing is very much a topic of conversation in this year’s budget negotiations because Gov. Kathy Hochul unveiled a massive housing plan which calls for 800,000 new units of affordable housing.

Supporters of the bill are hopeful it can be part of that plan.

“Well, first of all, you all know from last year I won’t be negotiating the budget before we get to the tables, before we have those conversations,” Hochul told reporters Wednesday when asked about it. “Obviously, they have their agenda. I have put forth a bold housing agenda that I believe will be transformative, and is necessary.”

This week, a court struck down the Good Cause Eviction bill in the city of Albany.

“The court ruling basically says we need the state to pass a Good Cause bill into law for it to be effective in other localities. So, basically the state pre-empts any local law. So it points to the need even more, for us to take action,” Rosenthal said.

Some believe the Good Cause Eviction bill will make it into the final budget deal, even if it’s a watered-down version of the bill that looks very different from what advocates are asking for.