Staying home: NYC evictions down nearly 20 percent after pro-tenant laws enacted

Wikimedia Commons/Shmuel Spiegelman

Evictions are down nearly 20 percent in New York City since rent laws were enacted last June, city data shows — and the nonprofit Legal Aid Society credited the new laws with contributing to the decline.

The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 was enacted on June 14, 2019, and included more legal protections for tenants against evictions, limits on security deposits, and notice to be given on rent increases over a certain amount.

From June 14 through the end of 2019, evictions across the city were down 18.3 percent, going from 10,958 between those dates in 2018, to 8,951 during the same timeframe in 2019, according to city data.

The Legal Aid Society said the decline was also impacted by the city’s Right to Counsel program, which launched in 2017 and gives New Yorkers with lower incomes the right to have an attorney when facing an eviction in housing court.

“These laws and programs are noticeably working and more New Yorkers are remaining in their homes as a result,” said Judith Goldiner, Attorney-In-Charge of the Civil Law Reform Unit at The Legal Aid Society. “However, we still have more to do and it starts with Albany enacting Good Cause legislation and Home Stability Support, investing in public housing across New York, and ending useless corporate subsidies that only benefit big developers. These measures are needed to meaningfully address our sprawling affordable housing and homelessness crises.”

Good Cause legislation would prevent tenants from being evicted due to large rent increases, and Home Stability Support would provide rent supplements to those eligible for public assistance who face eviction or other possible housing loss.

The Real Estate Board of New York, a real estate industry trade association, did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the report.

Broken down by borough, the city date shows that Queens and Manhattan had the biggest declines in evictions in 2019 from June 14 through Dec. 31.

Queens saw a 26.4 percent drop in evictions, from 2,291 to 1,686, while Manhattan evictions declined by 24.4 percent, from 1,700 to 1,286.

The other three boroughs also saw decreases in evictions. The Bronx saw evictions fall by 15.2 percent, from 3,505 to 2,972. Staten Island evictions declined by 14 percent, from 364 to 313. And in Brooklyn, evictions fell by 13 percent, from 3,098 to 2,694.