Can You Benefit From N.Y.'s Stuy Town Verdict?
The courts could decide to roll back rents but not require landlords to refund past overcharges. Based on the ruling in a Manhattan court, the owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village improperly raised rents and deregulated 4,400 apartments while receiving special tax breaks from the city.
They did raise rents with the permission of the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 landlords and managers in New York. The association allowed landlords to raise rents beyond certain levels and deregulate apartments while receiving tax breaks under the city's J-51 program. This program encourages landlords to renovate apartments.
Since 1994, only 35,000 J-51 units have been deregulated in the city, according to the Division of Housing and Community Renewal.About 140,000 units in the entire city receive J-51 benefits with just 22,000 in Manhattan.Few apartments outside Manhattan charge rents over $2,000, so most won't be affected by the Stuy Town verdict.
While landlords do expect to be hit with lawsuits, most of the lawsuits won't be successful. If you do pay more than $2,000 per month, you should research the history of rent control on your apartment. You may be able to benefit by getting a lower rent.
No court has yet ruled on how the tenants will be compensated. Since the landlords raised rents with the permission of the Rent Stabilization Association they may be off the hook for repaying past overcharges. You could end up with a lower rent if your apartments fits the narrow Stuy Town ruling, but don't count on getting a lot of back-rent refunds.