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Tenants testify at rental hearings across the state

Local News
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Rent laws that affect nearly 1 million state residents will expire in June. Three rent laws hearings took place in Upstate New York to decide the future direction.

“The average rent is supposed to be 30% of your income but since I have section 8 is 45% of my income,” said Pamela Owens, a Rochester resident and member of the citywide tenant union of Rochester.

This is the reality shared by many tenants who spoke in front of assembly members at a renting hearing. 

In 35 days the renting laws for thousands of people will expire and this will affect 60% of residents in the state who are renters.

“My biggest concern is the massive amount of instability and that’s being experienced through forced evictions and people having to move involuntarily,” said Ryan Acufo, citywide tenant union of Rochester. 

The average renter in Rochester spends 34% of their income on rent and the number is increasing. At the hearing, tenants and renters called for statewide reforms, including rent stabilization and good cause eviction legislation. 

“….. prevent arbitrary evictions and arbitrary rent hikes, and to stabilize our community, the other major one is to allow Rochester,  and the entire state to opt into rent stabilization as we think everyone should have the right for stable housing,” said Acufo.  

One assemblyman is looking at purchasing power as a way to start. 

“The best thing we can do is help low-income potential homeowners with a minimal down payment and closing costs and allow them to make a stake in the community,” said Mark Johns, member of the assembly 135th district. 

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