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Syracuse tenants rights advocates want 'good cause eviction' protections from state leaders

Five people stand in front of steps, one of them is at a podium.
Patrick McCullough
Tenant rights advocates gathered to send a message to state leaders

Local officials and tenants rights advocates gathered Tuesday morning in front of Syracuse City Hall, to ask Gov. Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers to include so-called Good Cause Eviction provisions in the state budget.

 A current Assembly bill is seeking to increase accountability for property owners, by capping rent increases and most importantly, says Jocelyn Richards of the Syracuse Tenants Union, by making landlords show they have a good, legal reason for not renewing a rental lease.

“'Good cause' would really help keep people in their homes and as we see homelessness skyrocketing in Syracuse,” said Richards. “We need to keep families in a stable situation. We need to keep kids in schools.”

Instead, says Richards, economically vulnerable renters don’t have enough protections from losing their homes if, for instance, they need home repairs, like having a caved ceiling fixed. She and others say there are landlords who abuse the system and can choose to cycle through renters rather than fix their property.

Onondaga County Legislator Palmer Harvey (D-District 9) says tenants’ rights advocates have been “fighting for good cause evictions” for too long at the state level.

In 2019, she said, they instead got the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act and while they're very grateful those protections, "at the same time, we need more and tougher restrictions on the bad actors.”

Harvey and others say that’s especially important at a time when rent hikes in Syracuse are among the highest nationwide, according to some real estate sites.



Natasha Senjanovic teaches radio broadcasting at the Newhouse School while overseeing student journalists at WAER and creating original reporting for the station. She can also be heard hosting All Things Considered some weekday afternoons.
Patrick McCullough is a graduate student studying Library Science at Syracuse University. He is expected to graduate in May, 2026. As a student contributor at WAER, Patrick produces digital and audio stories.