Court Watch

Court Watch

Important 'Four-Year Rule' Decision for Owners in Rent Overcharge Dispute

September 20, 2018    

In August 2018, the Appellate Division for the First Department ruled that, in the absence of fraud, there is a strict four-year lookback limit to calculate damages in rent overcharge cases where an apartment was incorrectly deregulated during the owner’s receipt of J-51 benefits. “...

NY High Court Rules in Favor of Owners in High-Rent Vacancy Deregulation Case

May 22, 2018    

On April 26, the New York State Court of Appeals handed down a landmark ruling in favor of rent-stabilized building owners by preventing them from having to re-regulate as many as 150,000 market-rate apartments. The Court unanimously reversed a 2015 decision of the Appellate Division, First...

Tenant Evicted with No Chance to Cure After Profiteering with Airbnb

March 20, 2015    

Back in December, an Upper West Side woman accused of earning thousands of dollars by renting her rent-controlled duplex on Airbnb was ordered to stop by a Manhattan judge. And in January of this year, apartment-sharing websites including Airbnb were taken to task by City Council members who...

Court: Rent-Stabilized Apartments Can't Be Seized as Assets in Bankruptcy

December 18, 2014    

In November, in a 5-2 vote, New York State’s highest court ruled that a lease for a rent-regulated apartment is a public benefit, just like disability or unemployment benefits, and cannot be seized as an asset in a personal bankruptcy.

Court Refuses to Dismiss Case Challenging TPU, RSC Amendments

November 12, 2014    

A lawsuit by owner organizations Rent Stabilization Association (RSA), Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), and the Small Property Owners of New York (SPONY), as well as individual property owners, was filed early this year in Brooklyn State Supreme Court to challenge the January 2014...

No Luxury Deregulation of Rent-Controlled Units After J-51 Expiration

November 12, 2014    

The Appellate Division, First Department, ruled in October 2014 that, once a building receives J-51 tax benefits, owners are forever barred from seeking luxury deregulation of rent-controlled apartments, even after the J-51 benefits expire. Ram I v. DHCR, 993 NYS2d 706 (App. Div. 1 Dept. 2014)....

Tenants Seek Class Action Suit for Unlawful Deregulation

November 12, 2014    

In October 2014, New York’s highest court heard arguments on three cases that raise the question as to whether tenants can pursue class action lawsuits against owners based on claims of unlawful deregulation while the buildings received J-51 tax benefits. In each case the Appellate...

Appellate Court Links Building Mold and Illness

April 26, 2012    

The problem of mold recently got more dangerous for New York owners. Four years ago, a key appellate court decision in Manhattan blocked millions of dollars in legal claims for damages for the health effects of mold in buildings, saying that the scientific evidence that mold caused illness was...

Court of Appeals Reinstates Low-Rent Supplement

April 19, 2011    

On March 24, 2011, the NYS Court of Appeals ruled that the NYC Rent Guidelines Board (RGB) had the power to impose extra increases on long-term tenants of low-rent apartments. The issue dates back to 2008, when the RGB passed a measure in Orders Nos. 40 and 41 to allow owners of rent-stabilized...

Mitchell-Lama Building Owner Prevented from Making Market-Rate Conversions

January 25, 2011    

A recent court decision could affect the ability of owners of former Mitchell-Lama buildings to convert thousands of apartments citywide to market-rate rents.

New York's Highest Court Weakens Four-Year Look-Back Rule

December 17, 2010    

On Oct. 19, 2010, the Court of Appeals, New York's highest court, issued two decisions substantially weakening the “four-year rule” on overcharge cases. The rule prevents the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) from investigating rent overcharge complaints by looking...

Judge Rules for Retroactive Rent Rollbacks at Stuy Town

August 29, 2010    

As Stuyvesant Town gets ready for foreclosure, a judge recently ruled that current owner Tishman Speyer and past owner MetLife must pay back tenants retroactive rent rollbacks. In other words, the tenants are entitled to be reimbursed for years of rent overcharges on apartments whose rents were...