Thursday, August 4, 2011

When Gluck (Stellar Management) took this building out of Mitchell-Lama in 2005, he applied to the state housing agency to quintuple our first rent-stabilized rents based on a provision in the law called “unique or peculiar circumstances.”  What were those circumstances?  That he took the building out of Mitchell-Lama and lost the tax abatement that went with it.

Under Governor Spitzer, the state’s housing agency issued a regulation that says that just taking a building out of Mitchell-Lama is not by itself a “unique or peculiar circumstance” justifying a rent increase.  (A regulation interprets a statute.  It’s the law, but not as strong as a statute, and can be more easily changed.)

So Gluck - on behalf of several buildings he took out of Mitchell-Lama -  and a few of his fellow-landlords sued the state, claiming the regulation was not valid.   

DHCR (now called NYS Housing & Community Renewal) answered, and several tenant associations, including ours, joined in to defend the regulation. We also worked hard to get other tenant associations to join us.  It was a complicated case!

The lower court supported us.  Then the mid-level state court supported us. 

In the meantime, Gluck withdrew from the case - and DHCR denied the “U or P” increase application Gluck had filed when we first left Mitchell-Lama.  

Finally, the last landlord involved in the case decided not to pursue his appeal.  (His deadline was July 25, 2011.) 

So it's over - at long last - and WE WON!!!!

We will still get rent increases with lease renewals and in some cases for Major Capital Improvements.  But as long as we stand together, we can fight to keep all our homes affordable.