ALBANY, N.Y.—An Albany County judge has struck down that city’s municipal good cause eviction law, potentially dealing a blow to good cause eviction legislation around the state as tenant advocates and landlords continue in a tug-of-war over housing rights both statewide and in Ithaca.

In the decision, New York State Supreme Court Judge Christina Ryba wrote that state law preempts two main sections of the Albany law, the sections dealing with “necessity for good cause” and “grounds for removal of tenants.” Attorney Ben Niedl, representing the plaintiffs (a group of Albany-area property owners), told Spectrum News that it was a victory over “really intrusive interference with [the] ability to interact with tenants.”

Respectively, those two clauses stated that landlords could not remove any tenant from housing except for with a court order affirming that the tenant has missed rent payments (as long as the debt isn’t a result of a rent increase or pattern of rent increases that are “unconscionable or imposed for the purpose of circumventing the intent of this article”). The courts would have been in charge of determining if a rent increase was indeed unconscionable, but a further explanation is below.

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