Obstacles Remain in the First U.S. City to Cancel Rent

Ithaca took historic action by passing a resolution to offer rent forgiveness to support its large population of renters during the current economic crisis. The city still has work to do to deliver on that promise.

1 minute read

July 16, 2020, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Ithaca, New York

With college campus like Cornell University closed, the Ithaca, New York economy is struggling. | PQK / Shutterstock

Brandon Duong writes about the status of efforts to adopt widespread rent support in the form of rent forgiveness—a step above the eviction moratoriums that have sufficed for tenant protections during the pandemic and its resulting economic crisis.

Despite widespread calls for action, legislatures at the local, state, and national levels have yet to pass a measure that would offer large-scale rent forgiveness.

But one city is getting close. In Ithaca, New York, city officials recently passed a resolution asking the state to grant the mayor authority to cancel rent for all residents and small businesses for three months, making it the first city in the country to do so.

While the news media, including Planetizen, pushed headlines about Ithaca canceling rent, there was some fine print involved, with state approval necessary and the final details to hammer out at the local level.So did Ithaca really cancel rent? That's the question Duong sets out to answer.

"Over a month after the council passed the resolution, it’s still uncertain whether rent cancellation will become a reality for Ithaca renters," reports Duong, who provides a lot more detail on the political situation facing the city's efforts in the source article.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 in Shelterforce

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