Who says money can't buy happiness? The State Senate is flirting with a bill that would essentially reverse the decision of the landmark lawsuit that returned thousands of market-rate Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village apartments to the warm embrace of rent stabilization, as long as landlords pay up. The court ruled in 2009 that Tishman Speyer could not deregulate Stuy Town apartments while receiving tax breaks on the properties. The decision affected around 40,000 apartments citywide, and certain key issues have yet to be sorted out by the courts, such as refunds of rent overcharges and determining what the legal rents of these apartments should be. The State Senate's bill, the Times reports, would allow landlords to pay back the tax breaks (with interest) and go on charging market rates for the apartments.
The bill is backed by the state's powerful real estate lobby, which highlights the $100 million to $300 million that the government would rake in from landlords. Tenant advocates, on the other hand, say the bill is basically a get-out-of-jail-free card. In Stuyvesant Town's case, the owners would need to repay just over $26 million to deregulate around 4,400 apartments. Rents would not be rolled back, and the estimated $200 million in rent overcharges would not be returned to the tenants. Think this one might turn out to be controversial?
· Bill in State Senate Would Relax Rent Rules [NYT]