June 17th, 2010 As reported in the New York Law Journal and the New York Times, Governor David Paterson last week introduced new legislation [PDF] that would raise the threshold at which a landlord may seek to deregulate an apartment–from a monthly rent of $2,000 to $3,000. In addition, the bill would address apartment deregulation for buildings receiving J-51 tax benefits, which were excluded from deregulation by the 2009 Court of Appeals decision in Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties LP. The new law, if passed, would allow current J-51 benefit recipients to deregulate apartments after October 22, 2009, provided the apartments did not become regulated as a result of receiving the J-51 benefit. The bill would establish a formula for determining overcharges in apartments improperly deregulated prior to the Roberts decision. The law potentially affects many tens of thousands of units. Tenants, regulated and deregulated alike, should consult with counsel to determine their rights.


October 22nd, 2009 The Court of Appeals ruled today in Roberts v. Tishman Speyer that rent-stabilized apartments in buildings receiving J-51 tax benefits are not subject to luxury deregulation. This ruling will affect several groups of tenants. First, tenants who are presently in a luxury deregulation proceeding in a J-51 building will have direct and immediate benefit. Second, tenants whose apartments were already luxury deregulated and moved out of a J-51 building as a result may have claims based on the ruling. And third, those whose apartments have been luxury deregulated in a J-51 building and who have remained, now paying a rent likely well in excess of their rent-stabilized rent, may have substantial overcharge claims and a right to return to the pre-luxury-deregulation rent. As appears from the majority opinion’s final paragraph, the court left open issues concerning statutes of limitation, retroactivity and other issues. It is thus important to seek counsel promptly.


February 9th, 2009 The following is our initial summary of the laws relating to rent regulation that passed the Assembly and were referred to the Senate on February 2, 2009. (Visit the State Assembly’s website for a complete list.)
Bill No. A-860 Concerns luxury deregulation and raises the threshold income to $240,000 through January 1, 2010. After January 1, 2010, the income threshold will be raised by the CPI in effect for NY, NJ, CT and PA. The threshold rent is raised to $2,700 per month through January 1, 2010 with the same CPI increase as for income. If passed, the bill would be effective immediately.
Bill No. A-1688 This essentially repeals the Urstadt Law for cities of 1 million or greater population. The basic theory is that if a municipality can weaken rent regulation laws it should be able to strengthen rent regulation also. The presently existing Urstadt Law prohibits any municipality from enacting more restrictive rent regulation. This is only applied to financial aspects such as rent increases, and not items such as window guard legislation or the three-month city pet law.
Bill No. A-2005 Any apartment that was deregulated upon a vacancy because the rent after the vacancy was, or became, more than $2,000 per month goes back into rent regulation with the legal rent as of December 31, 2006 if the deregulation occurred on or after January 1, 2007. Any apartments deregulated before January 1, 2007 with a monthly rent of less than $5,000 per month in New York City (or less than $3,500 per month elsewhere) go back into regulation with the “actual rent applicable” on January 1, 2007 or the “first rent applicable” after January 1, 2007. This legislation could lead to landlords only renting housing eligible for luxury deregulation to households with income greater than the $240,000 threshold. The supporting memo notes that some 300,000 apartments have been lost to luxury deregulation in New York City, Westchester, Nassau and Rockland.