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Unpublished Paper
Rent Regulation in New York City After Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties
ExpressO (2012)
  • Margaret Budnik, University of Connecticut School of Law
New York City has many tenant protection laws. One such protection is rent regulation, which aims to protect tenants from, among other things, oppressive rents and price gouging. This Note will explore the City’s rent regulation laws for privately-owned residential buildings in the wake of Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties, a 2009 case decided by the New York Court of Appeals, New York State’s highest court. Roberts held that owners of buildings that received tax benefits under the J-51 program—a tax program that provides tax abatements and tax exemptions to owners for rehabilitating residential housing—could not deregulate apartments and charge market rents. The Roberts holding was narrow and did not resolve many important issues, including retroactivity, statute of limitations, and possible defenses. Before Roberts, it was widely believed and accepted that certain buildings were eligible for deregulation regardless of whether the building was receiving J-51 tax benefits. The decision’s sudden break with industry practice caused an outpouring of alarm by some landlords, owners, and real estate experts, who, like the defendants in Roberts, deregulated J-51 buildings in the hopes of converting regulated apartments into market rent. Many real estate practitioners believed the impact of Roberts would wreck havoc on New York City’s real estate industry since the ruling exposed many parties to massive amounts of unforeseen liability in rent overcharges. The purpose of this Note is to examine whether the impact of Roberts on New York City’s real estate industry has been as dire as predicted. This Note will summarize some of the post-Roberts litigation and will analyze how several lower courts have addressed the decision’s unanswered issues. Finally, this Note will discuss the implications of Roberts on New York City’s real estate industry, and argue that the Roberts has not produced the dire financial repercussions initially predicted.
  • rent control,
  • rent,
  • city
Publication Date
January 6, 2012
Citation Information
Margaret Budnik. "Rent Regulation in New York City After Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties" ExpressO (2012)
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