ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — On Tuesday, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan unveiled new fair housing legislation that her administration is calling “historic”. 

Mayor Sheehan said this legislation is designed to create the first “Good Cause” eviction law in New York State. It would also modernize the city’s rental dwelling registry and empower the city’s Buildings & Regulatory Compliance Department to proactively address building emergencies.

The Mayor said this legislation has become even more timely as the housing crisis created by the pandemic becomes more widespread.

Rather than deeming buildings unsafe and unfit, they will first encourage property owners to make repairs, but if they don’t, the building department will step in and make those neglected repairs and charge the landlord. The Mayor said this is all in an effort to proactively prevent blight in the city.

The legislation would also allow the Department of Buildings and Regulatory Compliance to revoke a residential occupancy permit when an owner serious neglects their property.

The Mayor said this legislation would protect tenants and neighborhoods from absentee landlords, but that it will also level the playing field for responsible landlords.

City Councilmember, Alfredo Balarin, who represents the 11th Ward, is a landlord himself and offered his perspective. “If you’re a homeowner, if you are an investor, if you are an absentee landlord that sees this as just passive income, where all you care about is your rent every month, and you don’t care about the people who live in your home, and you don’t care about the neighborhood that you’ve invested in, well you’re going to have to step up your game,” said Balarin.

“Now more than ever is the time for us to take a stand for residents of the city of Albany, for our tenants here in the city of Albany and for every landlord who is doing the right thing,” said Mayor Sheehan.

Advocates of the legislation said this is all in an effort to decrease the amount of vacant and abandoned properties in the city and to avoid condemning a building, which could force residents into a shelter. The Mayor said the best way to improve quality of life and attract investment in the city is by combatting blight. She said this comes after a year of surveying landlords and tenants and researching other cities across the state and country.

The legislation is already supported by four Councilmembers, but it will now be introduced to the remaining members for further deliberation and consideration.