SBLS and Legal Aid Society Win Victory for Long-Term Rent Stabilized Tenants

On June 22, 2010, a Manhattan appeals court struck down the minimum dollar rent increases included in the Rent Guidelines Board orders for 2008 and 2009. As a result, thousands of rent stabilized tenants who pay less than $1,000 in rent and have been living in the same apartment for at least six years may be entitled to a refund if they signed leases agreeing to pay a flat rent increase of $30, $45, $60 or $85 instead of a lower percentage increase. (Photo, right, by Tenants Together)

 

In its decision, the Appellate Division, First Department, affirmed the decision of the Supreme Court in Casado v. Markus, (402267/08), filed by South Brooklyn Legal Services (a program of Legal Services NYC) and the Legal Aid Society. The Court held that the Rent Guidelines Board may not single out long term tenants for higher rent increases, since the Board lacks the power to create “classes of accommodations” that are subject to different rates of increase.

Ironically, although the City tenaciously defended the RGB’s actions, the court’s decision may save the City millions of dollars in Section 8 subsidies and SCRIE tax credits by reducing the rents of hundreds of thousands of tenants, which hopefully will alleviate the financial crisis in the City’s low income housing programs.

Read more about the victory at the official blog of Tenants Together.


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