In late April, Rosenberg & Estis, P.C. and Amsterdam & Lewinter LLP won a landmark decision in the Court of Appeals of the State of New York, which impacts thousands of residents of rental apartments in New York City.
The case, Altman v. 285 West Fourth LLC, prevents the re-regulation of tens of thousands of rental apartments and vacated a $165,000 overcharge award for its client, the defendant.
Rosenberg & Estis Member Jeffrey Turkel argued the case before the Court of Appeals on behalf of the defendant, based on briefs he wrote with fellow member Blaine Schwadel. Mark Amsterdam and Mark Lewinter, senior partners with Amsterdam & Lewinter LLP, also represented the defendant in the case.
The issue underlying the case was whether, under New York City’s Rent Stabilization Law, statutory vacancy increases, as well as increases based on the installation of new equipment and improvements in vacant apartments, can be used to reach the $2,000 rent threshold necessary for vacancy deregulation. Turkel argued that, based on a clause added to the law by the New York State Legislature in 1997, an apartment will become deregulated as long as the rent of the former tenant, plus allowable post-vacancy increases, brings the rent to at least $2,000.
“Altman v. 285 West Fourth LLC had the potential to completely upend the city’s residential market by changing the way in which the luxury decontrol threshold is reached,” said Turkel. “This unanimous ruling prevents the unjustified restabilization of thousands of apartments that were appropriately deregulated according to law. It also prevents thousands of deregulated tenants from receiving a windfall in the form of a rent-stabilized apartment with a below-market rent. This was a major challenge to the residential real estate industry, and the industry won.”
Read more about the decision here.