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New York State Appellate Court Affirms 15% Rent Reduction in the City of Kingston

The precedent-setting decision protects the interests of thousands of Kingston tenants struggling to keep up with soaring rent costs
KINGSTON, NY- On March 21, 2024, a New York State appellate court unanimously ruled to uphold the city of Kingston’s order for a 15% rent reduction for tenants. The vote to order the reduction in rent-stabilized apartments was the state’s first-ever rent reduction. The appellate court’s decision to overturn the lower court’s finding that Kingston’s Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) guidelines were unlawful clearly and accurately states what the law requires and authorizes rent guidelines boards to do.

According to the 2020 Ulster County Rental Housing Survey, the median rent increased 47.9% from 2016 to 2020. In July 2022, a city vacancy study established a less than 5% vacancy rate, and the Common Council of the City of Kingston New York, adopted a resolution declaring a housing emergency existed as set forth in the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA). Kingston’s RGB was later established, and the historic 15% rent reduction for over 1,200 apartments across 64 rent-stabilized buildings was enacted. In December 2022, a judge temporarily blocked the rent reduction voted on by the Kingston RGB, and Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) intervened on behalf of local organizations and Kingston residents.

“The adoption and implementation of ETPA in Kingston was lawful, and the court’s decision upholds critical protections for ETPA tenants in the city,” said Marcie Kobak, Litigation Director of Legal Services of the Hudson Valley.

LSHV’s representation of the local organizations and Kingston tenants in this matter aligns with the organization’s strategic plan. LSHV identified systemic change as one of its focus areas with the goal of challenging harmful systemic practices through strong litigation, advocacy, and partnership with the community. LSHV is proud to have represented members of the Kingston community whose basic human needs were at stake.

About Legal Services of the Hudson Valley

For more than 50 years, Legal Services of the Hudson Valley (LSHV) has been providing free, high-quality legal counsel in civil matters when basic human needs are at stake, including eviction and foreclosure prevention, domestic violence, disability, elder law, healthcare, consumer fraud, and more. Our services support almost 600,000 poor and low-income families and individuals who cannot afford an attorney in our seven-county service area. With the gap separating those who can and cannot afford legal representation widening each day, we work to ensure that everyone has equal access to justice, regardless of their ability to pay. As the only provider of free comprehensive civil legal services in the lower and mid-Hudson Valley (Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Ulster, and Sullivan), LSHV is proud to have handled 12,140 cases impacting over 23,836 household members, including 8,392 children last year. LSHV is made up of ten offices and a dedicated and highly skilled staff of attorneys, paralegals, and administrative professionals.

For more information about Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, contribute or volunteer, please visit www.lshv.org, or contact Jazmine Leon at 914-949-1305 x270 or jleon@lshv.org.