In New York, there had been a dispute over the deregulation of a rent-stabilized unit. This dispute began in 2005 and threatened to impact all landlords and renters if the court found that the changes were unacceptable. Per the defendant, the owner had deregulated the apartment in accordance with the law.
When the tenant left the unit, the rent was $1,829.49 per month. When a 20-percent vacancy allowance was permitted, the legal rent exceeded the $2,000 limit set by regulations. Thus, the property was deregulated.
Previous decisions in a number of courts that heard this case stated that the vacancy deregulation threshold should have been determined before the tenant left, which would mean that the deregulation of the property based on post-tenancy vacancy was incorrect. This would mean the landlord deregulated the property illegally and also owed the tenant money. However, the Court of Appeals did not agree. The landlord, by law, was allowed to add on the vacancy allowance to the tenant's rent, which then brought the rent over the $2,000 limit. Also, it ruled that the tenant wouldn't be entitled to damages or rent overcharges based on the facts of the case.
This ruling helps affirm the Rent Stabilization Law and helps affirm the rules of the deregulation laws. If you are a landlord or tenant caught up in these laws, it helps to talk to an attorney about what they mean for you. Every case is different, but the laws regarding rent stabilization are now clear and need to be followed by everyone who is in the state of New York.
Source: Real Estate Weekly, "Courts come to sensible conclusion in major NYC rent case," John Banks, May 02, 2018