Ithaca needs to Opt into the Emergency Tenants Protection Act

Ithaca Common Council

Ithaca needs rents that residents can afford.

Ithaca City has a rental problem. Rents are skyrocketing while safe, affordable options are few: over the last three years, average rents in Ithaca have risen by nearly 10%--more than double the rate of increase in New York as a whole and close to double the national average. On top of that, we have a rental market with a 3.2% vacancy rate, leaving renters with few options. In the City of Ithaca nearly 60% of tenants are rent-burdened--meaning they pay more than 30% of their income to rent--while more than 40% are severely rent burdened, meaning they pay 50% of their income to rent.

For the approximate three-quarters of residents in Ithaca City who rent, available and affordable apartments are few and far between. Furthermore, the lack of strong tenant protections leaves renters vulnerable to mistreatment and abuse by their landlords. Meanwhile, the city continues to allow new large apartment complexes to serve the dwindling number of high income renters while driving up rents for the majority of working people.

To address this crisis the City of Ithaca should opt in to the Emergency Tenant Protection Act (ETPA) of 2019. The ETPA protects tenants in qualified residences in two important ways.

1) It limits annual rent increases to a rate set by a Rent Guidelines Board.

2) It offers protections for tenants from landlord harassment, including entitling tenants to receive required services and have their leases renewed, and protecting tenants from retaliation for complaining about property conditions.

Given that approximately a quarter of the estimated 7,300 rental units in the City of Ithaca are expected to meet the criteria of the ETPA, opting in will be a great first step towards making Ithaca a more affordable and pleasant place to be a renter.

Enacting ETPA here would have tangible benefits for renters. We believe that some of the apartment complexes it would apply to include:

  • West Village

  • Chestnut Hill

  • Fairview Apartments

  • Belleayre Building

For more info, check out our Fact Sheet.

*Cosponsored by the Ithaca Tenants Union*

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Sponsored by

To: Ithaca Common Council
From: [Your Name]

We urge the Ithaca City Common Council to:

* Commission a rental vacancy survey of apartments that qualify for the ETPA

* Declare a rental emergency

* Enact the ETPA in this community