Tenants and Stuy Town Owners Agree to Settlement Terms
On Nov. 29, the tenants and the company that controls Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village agreed to a tentative $68.7 million settlement, settling claims of rent overcharges since 2003. Under the settlement of the closely watched case, tenants who have lived in the affected apartments will get anywhere from $150 to six figures. The nine plaintiffs will each receive at least $25,000.
The agreement, which was filed with Judge Richard B. Lowe III in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, will at the same time mean the rents for a large block of apartments will increase, under a complicated set of formulas the two sides used to determine the legal rent for each unit under the state’s rent regulations.
The settlement serves as last act for a journey that began in 2006 with the $5.4 billion sale of the complex at the peak of the real estate boom, when it was hailed as the largest American real estate deal ever. A group of tenants filed a lawsuit shortly after the purchase, claiming that MetLife, the original owner, and the partners had improperly deregulated apartments and raised rents while taking tax breaks from the city. In 2009, the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled in favor of the tenants. The court, however, left it to the two sides to figure out the rent overcharges and the legal rent for the 4,311 apartments covered under the court ruling. The money will be divided among a potential 21,250 former and current tenants. The court must grant final approval of the settlement. A hearing is scheduled for April 9.