Turtle Bay Tenants Granted Class Action Status

A New York State Supreme Court judge recently granted class action status to a group of nine tenants in a Turtle Bay building. They claim that their landlord illegally deregulated 72 apartments. According to the complaint, the owner charged tenants market-rate rents for 20 years, even though he received J-51 tax breaks from the city. Class action status means that the final ruling would apply not only to existing tenants, but also to those who have moved out of the building and future tenants, too.

The court in the landmark 2009 Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village case ruled that owners could not deregulate units while receiving those benefits. "The named plaintiffs and the putative class members share a common goal — namely, ensuring that the landlord charges tenants of the apartment building no more than the maximum legal rent," Judge Ajay Singh wrote in his opinion. “…That they be afforded the protections of the [Rent Stabilization Law and Rent Control Law] and that they receive compensation for past overcharges."

Tenants at the 11,000-plus-unit Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village complex won a landmark ruling requiring owners to give back hundreds of millions of dollars in refunds to tenants after they charged market rent to tenants when the landlord received J-51 benefits. That ruling required owners to reduce existing rents and to refund rent to previous tenants. Since then, allegations have been made against owners across the city, including at London Terrace Gardens, in Chelsea.