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Stuy Town tenants sue landlord to stop rent hikes
Tenants at Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village are suing to block Blackstone, the complex’s landlord, from deregulating thousands of apartments after a regulatory agreement expires this year.
Come July 1, about 6,200 rent-regulated apartments in the massive complex could face deregulation when a tax break known as J-51, which is specifically designated for landlords of rent-stabilized buildings, expires. Now, tenants along with a coalition of elected officials, argue that sweeping rent reforms passed by the state legislature in June override the pending deregulation.
“These laws are clear and unambiguous,” Susan Steinberg, the present of the tenants’ association, said at a Thursday press conference. “[Blackstone] cannot disregard state rent law and raise rents and deregulate units as if the law had never been changed.”
The tenants’ association filed the legal challenge in state Supreme court Thursday against Blackstone, New York City, and New York State Homes and Community Renewal, calling on a judge to determine whether the new rent reforms apply to the thousands of apartments. A spokesperson for Blackstone said the firm is “confident” that the court will reaffirm a 2012 settlement stating that the J-51 units should no longer be subject to rent regulations as of June 2020.
And in other news...
- As the number of novel coronavirus cases in New York City continue to rise, so are fears of an outbreak in the country’s biggest city. The MTA is now taking new cleaning measures in an effort to sanitize the city’s public transportation and, in a stunt to allay New Yorkers’ fears, Mayor Bill de Blasio even took a rare subway ride Thursday.
- The city’s cultural institutions—museums, theaters, and concert halls—are, as the New York Times puts it, “hyperaware that their establishments could become petri dishes,” and have adopted a variety of creative tactics to help avoid becoming sites for disease transmission.
- Faced with unsold apartments lingering on the market for months or even years, an increasing number of condo developers are leasing their units as rentals instead.
- Developers who had major projects planned for Inwood are backing the city’s efforts to appeal an unprecedented December ruling that overturned the neighborhood’s rezoning.
- A new bill in the State Assembly seeks to fine landlords who leave their rent-regulated apartments vacant for more than three months at a time, but critics are slamming the bill as unconstitutional.
- The Parks Department may manage and fund the construction of a new green space on the banks of the Gowanus Canal.
- A new study published this month in Current Biology shows that daylight saving time leads to more fatal crashes by tired drivers.
- The City Council has approved plans for a mixed-use, two-tower complex partially on the site of the fire-gutted Beth Hamedrash Hagodol Synagogue in the Lower East Side.
- Renovations at the famed Chelsea Hotel have come to a standstill as some tenants sue the owner, claiming the construction will force them out.
- The Gateway tunnel has suffered another setback at the hands of the Trump administration with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao admitting that a required environmental impact statement won’t be coming any time soon.