A group of West Village tenants have won a major victory against their landlord, who they alleged had illegally deregulated their rent-stabilized rental building. The Real Deal is now reporting that Rudd Realty Management, the landlord of 28 Bedford Street has not only decided to regulate the apartments once again, but has also agreed to refund the extra rent and the interest to the tenants.
The landlord filed an affidavit in Manhattan’s State Supreme Court attesting to the same, and ensured that none of the existing tenants in the building would be evicted, according to TRD.
In June this year, a group of residents at the building filed a lawsuit against Rudd Realty, alleging that the landlord was improperly benefitting from the J-51 tax abatement program. If developers receive a tax break under that program, they are required to ensure that all the apartments in the building are rent regulated.
At the time that the residents filed a lawsuit, only three of the building’s 32 apartments were rent regulated, and for the other tenants, the landlord allegedly refused to let them sign a new lease unless they accepted a $150/month rent increase.
The attorney for the tenants told TRD that this is a great first step on the landlord’s part, but it isn’t a final victory. The precise rent and the money owed to the tenants must still be determined by the court. The state has struggled to monitor unscrupulous landlords who don’t follow rent-stabilization, so this news does come as a welcome reprieve of sorts.