A prominent New York property owner will reimburse residents of a Brooklyn building who had sued the after rents were raised.
The company had started charging market rate for rent-regulated units and agreed recently to pay back about $100,000 in an apparent admission that it was wrong to raise the rent. The company also agreed to apply the regulation rules to the units once again.
Speaking on behalf of the tenants, one representative said the company "was aware of the risks and took a gamble that no one would notice what they were doing." Additionally, it has been contended that former tenants also are owed reimbursements.
The company bought the property in 2014 for $14.3 million. It had been used for student housing and was converted to market-rate apartments under new ownership. A watchdog housing group, however, learned the building was rent-regulated before its conversion to student housing and was subject to a return to rent regulation.
The watchdog group also contends that the company failed, in another case, to file required paperwork with the city to show that buildings it owned in Queens had regulated units. The group criticized the state's Division of Housing and Community Renewal for not auditing the company's real estate portfolio.
Landlord-tenant matters are serious issues. New York's laws are in place to protect consumers, and when those laws are violated, tenants deserve to have their cases heard and receive compensation when the building owners have done wrong. In this case, the tenants prevailed.
If you have an issue with your landlord violating rent regulation laws, an attorney experienced in landlord and tenant matters should be consulted.