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Rochester activists renew call for eviction protections

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City Council members in Albany this week passed certain eviction protections for residents, and local activists are renewing their calls for Rochester City Council to pass a similar law here.

Albany’s good cause eviction protections give tenants the right to renew their lease and dispute rent increases. They also prevent landlords from evicting tenants without cause.

“What it ends is a system we have right now where at the end of the lease, a tenant could be evicted for no reason,” said Ritti Singh with the City-wide Tenant Union of Rochester. “The landlord doesn’t need to tell the judge there’s a reason for it. The landlord can just say, ‘I don’t want them on my property anymore,’ and that’s it.”

Earlier this month, Rochester City Council members Miguel Melendez and Mary Lupien gave their support for good cause eviction measures.

In a statement Wednesday, Lupien said following Albany's lead on the protections is "imperative."

“We must prioritize our people over landlord profits,” she said.



However, Councilmember Michael Patterson has raised concerns over setting rent restrictions, saying that housing is a private market, and Council Vice President Willie Lightfoot said there could be unintended consequences to the measures.

Singh said on Wednesday that the matter is urgent as New York state's eviction moratorium ends Aug. 31.

“The eviction crisis is not new,” Singh said. “With this moratorium ending, we’re expecting just huge numbers, so we want to make sure we’re coming out of this pandemic better than when we entered it.”