Kingston rent guidelines board votes for price cut

Kingston City Hall

KINGSTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Kingston Rent Guidelines Board voted by a 6-3 margin Wednesday night to enact a 15% rent reduction for tenants who start a one-or two-year lease between Aug. 1. 2022, and Sept. 30, 2023. This is the first rent reduction in New York State history.

All landlords from eligible “ETPA buildings” are now required to offer reduced-price leases to tenants. The Board also voted to create a three-year lookback period for Fair Market Rent Appeals, which allows tenants a one-time challenge to their base rent, to which all future adjustments will be applied.

Tenant representatives Carol Soto and Michael Tierney, along with public representatives Mie Inouye, Noah Kippley-Ogman, Diana Lopez, and Arlene Puentes voted in favor of the rent reduction. The three votes against were property owner representatives Anthony Tampone and Tara Perry, and public representative Michael Brown.

In July, Kingston declared a housing emergency to opt into the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA). This sparked the creation of the city’s Rent Guidelines Board. The Board governs rents for all buildings of six or more units built before 1974. This includes some of the biggest apartment complexes in Kingston, including Stony Run, Fairview Gardens, Dutch Village, and Spring Brook Village.

Under the ETPA, the annual allowable rental increases for the protected properties are determined by the Board with assistance from the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. The Board is to meet annually to set new guidelines for rent adjustments.

Tenants can file complaints, request rent history, or challenge rental increases on the state’s Homes and Community Renewal website. Landlords can also use the site to file annual rent registration forms or apply for rent restoration, rent increase, or modification of services.

“This is a monumental victory not just for Kingston tenants, but for tenants across New York,” said Aaron Narraph Fernando, Communications Lead at For the Many, in a press release. The group said this reduction “comes after months of organizing by tenants, For the Many, and other grassroots groups, including Citizen Action, Mid-Hudson Valley DSA, and Housing Justice for All.”