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Legal Cases & Papers: Federal Ct threatens bankruptcy = losing rent-regulated apartment

A case pending before a federal circuit court in New York could mean a tenant declaring bankruptcy could lose her rent-regulated home.

See the New York Times, Widow’s Bankruptcy Case Poses Risk to Rent-Stabilized Tenants.

Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal's bill last year could prevent that problem. Click on "read more" below for details.

Posted by sue on Tuesday, October 22 @ 18:01:14 UTC (2076 reads)
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Legal Cases & Papers: Court: Income Affidavit NOT ''dispositive''

NYS's highest court has ruled that being on an income affidavit is not the be-all and end-all in determining who gets a Mitchell-Lama apartment after the primary tenant leaves.

Click here for the NYS Court of Appeals decision.

Posted by sue on Thursday, October 17 @ 12:08:19 UTC (1572 reads)
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Legal Cases & Papers: State of the City Proposed Legislative Changes

In her Feb. 11, 2013 State of the City address, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn made five proposals about affordable housing - some city-based, and others state-based.

  1. Building 40,000 new middle income affordable apartments ("affordable" not defined) on top of the 4,000 new units of low-income housing being built under Mayor Bloomberg's New Housing Marketplace Plan. Money for this will come from unused funds for other government programs.

  2. Permanent Affordability Act (state law), so new units remain permanently affordable.

  3. Pilot program: cap real estate taxes at fixed percent of rental income for landlords who keep rents affordable.

  4. Overhaul the City's Housing Maintenance Code with steeper penalties and requirements.
  5. Set up a Distressed Housing Trust Fund to buy overleveraged buildings (with over-high mortgages) in bulk, then rehab and sell them to better private owners.

Missing: An end to the vacancy destabilization that drains NYC of tens of thousands of affordable apartments yearly.

Click on "read more" for details.

Posted by sue on Tuesday, February 12 @ 01:18:28 UTC (738 reads)
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Legal Cases & Papers: Stuy Town tenants settle Roberts leftovers

Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village tenants have settled the money and other details left over from theRoberts v. Tishman Speyer case.

The Roberts court ruled that landlords who are getting a J-51 tax break to improve their buildings can't take apartments out of rent regulation as long as the tax break lasts. But the court did not determine what the rents of newly re-regulated apartments should be.

The tenants and the owners (no longer Tishman Speyer) have now settled. Click here for the settlement.

The Stuy Town tenant association has its own comments.

Posted by sue on Monday, December 03 @ 13:03:12 UTC (673 reads)
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Legal Cases & Papers: Indep. Plaza tenants lose J-51 fight

The former Mitchell-Lama rental cannot go into rent stabilization because the landlord paid back J-51 tax breaks the development had received.

Stellar Management, took the post-1973 development out of Mitchell-Lama and hid the fact that the building had had J-51 tax breaks - requiring that apartments be rent regulated. Stellar paid the J-51 benefits back secretly in an agreement with the City's Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

While other courts have held that paying back the J-51 benefits do not undo the landlord's obligation to keep housing regulated, the state's highest court refused to hear the appeal in this case.

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer wrote " It is deeply disappointing that the NY Court of Appeals has denied IPN residents their opportunity to be heard. The J-51 program is a binding commitment between landlords and the City. Landlords cannot be allowed to simply exit the program when it is no longer convenient for them. This decision not only hurts the tenants of IPN, but potentially the tenants of many other buildings around the city as well. We cannot give up our fight for affordability -- too much is at stake."

From State Senator Daniel Squadron:

"The NY Court of Appeals' decision to deny IPN residents' an appeal is incredibly disappointing, especially after years of tenants' work and our amicus briefs filed earlier this year. One of the many troubling consequences of this decision is that it may jeopardize IPN tenants -- and tens of thousands of other tenants around NYC. And it's particularly painful that the decision came down as IPN residents struggled in the aftermath of the storm.

"Without affordability at IPN, our community would not be what it is today. Let's be clear: J-51 is not just a tax break: it's a program designed to increase equality and affordability of housing across the city. Tenants should know that our fight isn't over -- we will continue to fight for the affordable housing that's vital to IPN and Tribeca, and to our entire city."

From Council Member Margaret Chin:

“I am extremely disappointed by the Court’s decision not to hear IPN’s case. By allowing landlords to roll over on their commitments under the J-51 program, the Court has opened the door to an even greater assault on our affordable housing stock in New York City. This seriously threatens the livelihood of the J-51 program and will impact thousands of New Yorkers. Locally, this decision could force residents out of affordable housing at Independence Plaza North. IPN is one of our neighborhood’s most important and long-standing housing developments. Maintaining the diversity, vibrancy and affordability of Independence Plaza North is a fight we will never give up.” Click on "read more" for the full statement.

Posted by sue on Wednesday, November 21 @ 12:56:41 UTC (1612 reads)
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Legal Cases & Papers: Ind. Plaza Ten. fight court decision on J-51

Tenants of Independence Plaza and politicians urge the state's highest court to hear their appeal on J-51.

In the case of Denza v. Independence Plaza Associations, the Appellate Division reversed a lower court ruling, and held that as soon as a building leaves Mitchell-Lama, it automatically loses its J-51 tax benefits. That means

  • the landlord's tax break ends immediately;
  • tenants do not remain rent stabilized until the landlord's tax break comes to an end (usually a period of years);
  • tenants do not get the benefit of a J-51 provision that the landlord's failure to notify a tenant of J-51 rent regulation protection means that that tenant gets to stay rent regulated for the duration of the tenancy.

Click on "read more" below for a comment by attorney Seth Miller, and an article about this.

Posted by sue on Wednesday, May 16 @ 17:22:08 UTC (1480 reads)
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Legal Cases & Papers: US Sup. Ct. rejects Harmon's challenge to rent regulation

On April 23, 2012, the United States Supreme Court decided against hearing landlord James Harmon's challenge to rent regulation.

See the New York Times and Bloomberg News articles.

That ends Mr. Harmon's case, and preserves rent regulation as it is. So now it is time to strengthen the rent laws. Join the Real Rent Reform Campaign.

Posted by sue on Monday, April 23 @ 12:56:48 UTC (723 reads)
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Legal Cases & Papers: Harmon case still pending

According to scotusblog, the U.S. Supreme Court justices will be discussing (behind closed doors) on April 13, 2012 whether to hear the appeal of landlord James Harmon.

Harmon is seeking to overturn New York's rent regulation. The outcome may not be published immediately.

("SCOTUS" = Supreme Court Of The United States.)

Meanwhile, some lawyers don't think the Court will take the case. Click on "read more" below.

Posted by sue on Saturday, April 07 @ 00:41:00 UTC (808 reads)
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Legal Cases & Papers: IPN tenants lose at Appellate Division
The tenants at Independence Plaza North (a huge development owned by Larry Gluck of Stellar Management), argued that because Gluck accepted J-51 tax benefits after the buildings were taken out of Mitchell-Lama, the apartments were rent regulated.

They just lost in the state's mid-level court. Click on "read more" below for an explanation and click here for a copy of the decision.

Posted by sue on Wednesday, April 04 @ 10:26:43 UTC (1607 reads)
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Legal Cases & Papers: Harmon asking US Supreme Ct to undo rent laws

Rent stabilization and rent control, SCRIE and DRIE depend on the rent laws - on rent regulation. Upper West Side landlord James Harmon has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn rent regulation.

New York City's Law Department (the Corporation Counsel) and New York State's Attorney General have filed briefs against the U.S. Supreme Court taking the case. As explained by attorney Tim Collins (former Executive Director of the Rent Guidelines Board) in the December 2011 Tenant/Inquilino, this case is dangerous.

Click on "read more" below.

Posted by sue on Thursday, January 12 @ 22:58:06 UTC (1690 reads)
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