In today’s meeting of the Senate committee on Housing, Construction and Community Development, Senator Catharine Young reintroduced S5763B, a bill that would undo the tenants’ latest victory in the Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties case.
Although her previous bill reversing the tenants’ earlier victory never managed to gain any traction, an earlier version of this bill did pass the Senate last year (but died in Assembly).
Last August, tenants won a second court victory when the New York state appellate court ruled that landlords who illegally deregulated apartments (while simultaneously receiving J-51 tax benefits) are liable for retroactive damages — meaning that they have to pay back the overcharged rent that they collected from their tenants.
Even though Young crafted the original version of this bill prior to that court victory, the bill reverses the court’s decision by allowing landlords to return to the government any J-51 tax breaks received prior to the decision (October 22, 2009), and thereby setting the base rent for all affected apartments to be whatever the legal rent was on that date. (1:10 in video)