This Hudson Valley City Just Enacted Upstate New York's First Rent Control Laws

It follows in the footsteps of NYC after seeing huge pandemic price increases.

As the pandemic ravaged New York City, some wealthier residents decamped permanently to surrounding areas, driving up housing prices in places like the Hudson Valley. Now, one city is trying to protect its residents by becoming the first upstate New York municipality to enact rent control laws.

Kingston, a city of about 24,000 people 90 miles north of New York City, saw home prices rise about 30% in its surrounding Ulster County, the second-fastest rate in the nation, according to Curbed. After first responding with a Good Cause Eviction bill that guaranteed lease renewals and protected against very steep rent increases, the city has now gone a step further by declaring a housing emergency and enacting rent stabilization after its apartment vacancy rate fell below 5%. 

This move will affect about 1,200 apartments in the city, limiting rent increases to an amount set by a nine-member Rent Guidelines Board. The action, which applies to buildings built before 1974 with six or more units, is similar to restrictions that have been in place in New York City for decades but are a first for upstate New York. Activists hope the move will inspire other Hudson Valley cities like Newburgh and Poughkeepsie to follow suit in light of rising costs. 

Kingston's implementation of rent control follows other recent attempts by upstate New York municipalities to rein in costs. The Lake George vacation hotspot Queensbury just enacted new restrictions on Airbnb and other short-term vacation rentals, limiting stays to five nights or longer. The neighboring Village of Lake George recently took similar action. 

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Chris Mench is an editor focusing on NYC News at Thrillist. You can follow him on Twitter for more of his work.