What is Good Cause Eviction?

Good Cause Eviction is a STOP! Coalition campaign/ordinance that will soon be brought to the Syracuse Common Council for a vote. It would protect tenants from no-fault evictions, give tenants the right to renew their lease and protect tenants from unconscionable rent hikes. (Download our one-pager here)

  • Good Cause Eviction would stop landlords from evicting tenants without an order from a judge. The judge would decide if an eviction is for a “good cause” or not. Additionally, under the Syracuse ordinance, landlords:
    • Cannot evict without presenting the Rental Registry Certificate or Certificate of Compliance
    • Cannot evict if there are open code violations at any of their properties
    • Cannot evict if there is a history of intimidation
    • Cannot evict based on nonpayment of a rent increase of more than 5%
  • It would give tenants the right to renew their lease if they wanted to. Good Cause Eviction would prevent landlords from forcing people out of their homes when their lease expired.
  • It would protect tenants from unconscionable rent hikes. A $500 or $1000 rent hike is as good as an eviction. With Good Cause Eviction, rent increases over 5% could be considered “unconscionable.”
  • Good Cause Eviction would empower tenants to stand up to their landlords and demand better living conditions without fear of retaliation.

What doesn’t Good Cause Eviction do? How would it work?

  • It doesn’t protect tenants who break the terms of their lease, for actions such as non-payment, being a “nuisance”, etc.
  • It doesn’t stop an owner from selling a home they no longer live in, and, if the new owner would like to use the home for personal use, evicting the tenant.
  • It doesn’t prevent investment or development — new construction is set at the market rate rent.
  • Personal use by the landlord is considered a good cause for eviction. Landlords are able to reclaim apartments covered by good cause for their own use on households with less than 12 units.
  • It doesn’t regulate the rent in between tenancies. Every time someone moves, the apartment would reset to the market rate rent.
  • It doesn’t create a regulatory agency that would oversee rents. Tenants would enforce Good Cause Eviction themselves. For example, if a tenant receives a lease with what they believe is an “unconscionable” rent increase, it is incumbent on the tenant to challenge that lease and up to a judge to determine the answer.

Good Cause Eviction doesn’t attack small landlords, or homeowners.
This ordinance is designed to take on the corporate landlords that are buying up homes in our communities. In fact, Good Cause is actually good for homeowners. By slowing speculation, it will help first-time homebuyers compete in the market.

Good landlords already abide by what is in Good Cause. It rewards good actors and discourages bad ones from participating.