Court Rejects Extra Hike in Low Rents
June 22nd, 2010
A New York State appeals court has upheld a lower court decision throwing out a rent increase that applied only to New York City residents paying less than $1,000 in rent.
Appellate Division ruled on a January decision by state Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman finding that the Rent Guidelines Board overstepped its authority when it levied a minimum increase on people paying low rents who had lived in their apartments for more than six years. In 2008, the board, while hiking rents on regulated apartment by 4.5 percent for one-year leases and 8.5 percent for two-year leases, also established a minimum $45 increase for one-year leases and $85 for two-year leases. As a result, Goodman calculated, one plaintiff in the case against the increase faced a 12 percent rental increase.
Critics termed the minimum increase a “poor tax,” with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn saying it constituted ” a direct attack by the Rent Guidelines Board on low income tenants — the very New Yorkers hit hardest by the current recession.” In September 2008, the Legal Aid Society and Legal Services of New York filed suit against the hike.
At the time of Goodman’s decision, the Times reported that some 300,000 tenants in rent-stabilized apartments could receive rebates and rent reductions if the Rent Guidelines Board order was overturned. Ellen Davidson of the Legal Aid Society estimated the tenants could get a total of $36 million to $100 million in refunds.
The city had appealed Goodman’s ruling.
(Goodman is a regular contributor to Gotham Gazette.)By Gail Robinson on June 22, 2010, 6:20 pm
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