|Date:||December 22, 2021|
In November 2021, Buffalo Common Council President Darius Pridgen introduced a resolution to call for tenant protection policy ideas from the public. PPG and many of our partners sent this letter to the Council President asking him and the rest of the council to pass the Tenant Bill of Rights.
December 22, 2021
The Honorable Darius Pridgen
65 Niagara Square, Room 1315
Buffalo, NY 14202
Subject: Adopt the Buffalo Tenant Bill of Rights
Dear Council President Pridgen,
We, the undersigned partners of Partnership for the Public Good (PPG), urge the Buffalo Common Council to pass the Buffalo Tenant Bill of Rights (TBOR).
Thank you for your foresight and leadership in requesting policy solutions to our city’s housing crisis. As you well know, half of Buffalo’s tenants cannot afford their rent and about a quarter of renters spend more than half their income on rent. Like you alluded to in your resolution, this housing cost burden falls disproportionately on the shoulders of residents of color. In Buffalo, 30% of Black householders, 37% of Hispanic householders, 29% of Asian householders, and 42% of Native householders face a severe housing cost burden compared to just 15% of white householders. And of course, as you mentioned, we have a major housing quality problem here in Buffalo, with tenants’ health suffering severely due to lack of maintenance. COVID-19 and the subsequent lack of housing supply have only compounded these problems. Like you suggested, proactive legislation to address these issues is sorely needed.
Thankfully, the Tenant Bill of Rights addresses many of the issues Buffalo tenants face and will give our city what it so desperately needs – a local homes guarantee. All people, regardless of immigration status, country of origin, or language deserve access to safe, quality, energy efficient, and affordable housing. The rights outlined in the TBOR would protect tenants against evictions without good cause, ensure timely repairs, reaffirm the right to language access in housing court proceedings, allow tenants to purchase their homes when they go up for sale, and more. If enacted, these rights would encourage stronger neighborhoods, establish stability for tenants, and would prevent displacement.
Each right works together with the others in the document. For example, passing rent stabilization (Right #8) can lead to landlords evicting tenants for no cause. Landlords are incentivized to do this because they can then drastically increase the rent. Good Cause legislation (Right #1) prevents this very issue by prohibiting eviction without legal cause. We urge you to consider the TBOR with these connections in mind.
Each year, PPG calls on its 300+ partner groups to propose and vote on the most pressing policy changes needed in our region. Out of 25 proposals, the Tenant Bill of Rights was voted onto the agenda as a key priority in 2022.
Thank you for speaking up for Buffalo's renters! We ask now that you stand with us and pass the Tenant Bill of Rights.
ACCESS of WNY
Board of Block Clubs Buffalo & Erie County
Buffalo Center for Arts & Technology
Buffalo Citizens for Council Accountability
Buffalo Parent Teacher Organization
Buffalo Prenatal Perinatal Network
Center for Elder Law & Justice
Center for Urban Studies, University at Buffalo
Coalition for Economic Justice
El Buen Amigo
Housing Opportunities Made Equal
Interfaith Climate Justice Community
Jurisdiction Wide Resident Council (BMHA)
Latin American Cultural Association
Partnership for the Public Good
Preservation Buffalo Niagara
Prisoners are People Too
Sierra Club Niagara Group
Spark Filmmakers Collaborative
Ujima Company Inc
The WASH Project