Tenants in Manhattan's Stuyvesant Town (inset, left) and Peter Cooper Village rent regulated apartments (inset, right) won a legal victory today from New York's Court of Appeals, the state's highest court.
Upholding a 2007 appellate court ruling that landlords who receive a special J-51 tax abatement forfeit the right to further remove apartments from rent regulation by luxury decontrol proceedings, the Court of Appeals declined to give apartment owners a legal 'twofer.'
Tishman Speyer Properties, PCV ST Owner LP, and Metropolitan Life Insurance could not get both 1) tax exemptions and/or phased tax abatements, and 2) try to remove rental apartments from rent regulation entirely for either high-income renters whose rent was at least $2,000 a month, or vacant apartments that rented for at least $2,000 a month.
You can read the 28-page decision for Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town rent-regulated tenants here:
New York City enacted rent control and rent stablization laws decades ago to help ensure that an adequate, affordable suppply of housing remained in the bustling, costly metroplitan center.
Once upon a time, I successfully represented tenants in New York City luxury decontrol cases against landlords trying to remove rental protections from apartments they rented. For landlords, the incentive was enormous. Without rent regulation, they could increase rents signficantly more than the restricted amounts under the city's rent stablization laws.
Given that the stakes involved are huge -- one's home -- this is definitely the kind of matter where tenants would best protect themselves and their families by hiring a lawyer.