Blackstone Group to Refund $1.1M to Rent-Stabilized Tenants

Blackstone Group will pay about $1.1 million in refunds to rent-stabilized tenants at Parker Towers in Queens. The lawsuit was initially launched in March 2018 against the Jack Parker Corporation, which accused the real estate company of illegally deregulating apartments in the 1,327-unit Forest Hills rental complex despite receiving tax breaks under the J-51 program, which requires landlords to keep their apartments rent stabilized. Jack Parker then sold the towers to Blackstone in November for $500 million, after which the firm was named as a defendant in the suit.

Blackstone has been reviewing leases at the property with an independent auditing firm to figure out which rent-stabilized apartments have not been treated as such, and what the appropriate rents and refunds for tenants should be, according to court documents. The firm has determined that approximately 110 units should receive rent and/or utility reductions, and about 82 units should be re-regulated. The average rent reduction per unit is about $230 per month, and the refunds total about $1.1 million overall. The lawsuit is still ongoing.