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.