Bring Rent Stabilization to Rochester, NY!

Mayor Malik Evans, Council President Miguel Melendez and members of the Rochester City Council

By opting into Rent Stabilization, the City of Rochester can limit rent increases on eligible buildings. That means in thousands of apartments, landlords will no longer be able to raise rents as much as they want and we can have more housing security and stability in our city!

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To: Mayor Malik Evans, Council President Miguel Melendez and members of the Rochester City Council
From: [Your Name]

All Rochester residents deserve safe, stable homes where we can raise our families, rest after a long day of work, and build community with our neighbors. Tenants work hard to keep a roof over our heads and provide for our families. But right now, too many are struggling to afford our homes because of skyrocketing rents. Over a half of Rochester tenants are rent-burdened, forcing many of us to choose between paying the rent or feeding our families.

Our city is experiencing a housing emergency, and it is time for the City of Rochester to take action. We are writing to ask you to stabilize our community and help tenants afford the rent by completing a vacancy study, the first step towards opting into rent stabilization. If our city opts in, Rent Stabilization would cover more than 25,000 Rochester residents, living in 10,200 units across 650 buildings in our city. It would create more stable neighborhoods for tenants and homeowners alike.
Housing is a basic, foundational need. A lack of stable housing decreases public safety, impairs learning and education outcomes for our students, reduces income and access to credit, increases poverty, and decreases mental and physical health. High rents also drive increases in evictions and homelessness. Families of color in particular are the most likely to be rent-burdened, with Black Rochester families spending 44% of their income on rent on average. Healthy communities need plentiful options of safe and affordable housing that allow them to invest and thrive.

Rent stabilization is the gold standard for creating housing stability – no other policy tool can provide immediate relief from unaffordable rent hikes and preserve the supply of affordable housing at scale. That’s why 41 municipalities throughout New York State already have rent stabilization, as well as cities in California, New Jersey, Maine, Minnesota, and Maryland. The ETPA also improves housing conditions by providing protections that allow tenants to hold their landlords accountable for disrepair without fear of eviction. Rent stabilization enjoys broad support from both tenants and researchers; earlier this year, more than 30 U.S. economists signed a letter to the Biden Administration in support of rent control.

Rochester has not completed a vacancy study since 2021. It is time to update our data by conducting a rental vacant survey consistent with best practices of other cities – and then become the 42nd municipality in New York State to opt into the ETPA. Our city has a responsibility to stabilize Rochester families and create a healthy community for all of our residents.