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Matter of Regina Metro. Co., LLC v New York State Div. of Hous. & Community Renewal

Supreme Court of New York, Appellate Division, First Department

 August 16, 2018, Decided ; August 16, 2018, Entered

5026, 101235/15, 101236/15

Opinion

 [*420]  [**93] Order and judgment (one paper), Supreme Court, New York County (Alice Schlesinger, J.), entered October 24, 2016, denying the petitions to modify a determination of respondent New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), dated May 13, 2015, which affirmed an order of the rent administrator, dated February 26, 2014, to the extent that, for purposes of determining a rent overcharge, it calculated a base date rent by looking back more than four years from the rent overcharge complaint, and denied petitioner tenants' requests for treble damages and attorneys' fees, and dismissing the proceedings, modified, on the law, to grant [***2]  landlord's petition to the extent of remanding the matter to DHCR to recalculate the base date rent by looking back to four years before the filing of the overcharge complaint, and otherwise affirmed, without costs.

This appeal follows in the long wake of Roberts v Tishman Speyer Props., L.P. (13 NY3d 270, 918 NE2d 900, 890 NYS2d 388 [2009]). In Roberts, the Court of Appeals held that ] apartments in buildings receiving [****2]  benefits under the City's J-51 tax incentive program remain subject to rent stabilization for at least as long as the building continues to enjoy J-51 benefits.1 In Gersten v 56 7th Ave. LLC (88 AD3d 189, 928 NYS2d 515  [*421]  [1st Dept 2011], appeal withdrawn 18 NY3d 954, 967 NE2d 707, 944 NYS2d 482 [2012]), this Court held that Roberts should be applied retroactively.

] Rent Stabilization Law (RSL) (Administrative Code of City of NY) § 26-517 (a) (2) and CPLR 213-a set a four year limitations period for actions alleging rent overcharge. Therefore, a tenant who prevails on a Roberts claim is entitled to recoup only rent overcharges that accrued in the four years before the filing of the complaint (see e.g. Matter of Gilman v New York State Div. of Hous. & Community Renewal, 99 NY2d 144, 149, 782 NE2d 1137, 753 NYS2d 1 [2002]). The beginning date for the calculation of recoupment is known as the "base date."

The primary question presented in this appeal is how to determine the proper rent on the base date.

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164 A.D.3d 420 *; 84 N.Y.S.3d 91 **; 2018 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 5752 ***; 2018 NY Slip Op 05797 ****; 2018 WL 3886121

 [****1]  In the Matter of Regina Metropolitan Co., LLC, Appellant, v New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, Respondent, and Leslie E. Carr, Intervenor-Respondent.In the Matter of Leslie E. Carr, Appellant, v New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, Respondent, and Regina Metropolitan Co., LLC, Intervenor-Respondent.

Subsequent History: Appeal dismissed by Regina Metro. Co., LLC v. N.Y. State Div. of Hous. & Cmty. Renewal, 32 N.Y.3d 1085, 2018 N.Y. LEXIS 3461, 90 N.Y.S.3d 633, 114 N.E.3d 1086 (Dec. 11, 2018)

Motion granted by Regina Metro. Co., LLC v. N.Y. State Div. of Housing & Cmty. Renewal, 33 N.Y.3d 1062, 2019 N.Y. LEXIS 2018, 103 N.Y.S.3d 355, 127 N.E.3d 313 (June 27, 2019)

Motion granted by Matter of Regina Metro. Co., LLC v. N. Y. State Div. of Hous. & Community Renewal, 34 N.Y.3d 1032, 2019 N.Y. LEXIS 3483, 115 N.Y.S.3d 218, 138 N.E.3d 1101 (Dec. 17, 2019)

Motion granted by Matter of Regina Metro. Co., LLC v. N. Y. State Div. of Hous. & Community Renewal, 34 N.Y.3d 1032, 2019 N.Y. LEXIS 3509, 115 N.Y.S.3d 218, 138 N.E.3d 1101 (Dec. 17, 2019)

Affirmed by, in part, Certified question answered by Matter of Regina Metro. Co., LLC New York State Div. of Hous. & Community Renewal, 2020 N.Y. LEXIS 779, 2020 NY Slip Op 02127 (N.Y., Apr. 2, 2020)

CORE TERMS

rent, overcharge, landlord, apartment, tenants, four-year, rental, four year, deregulated, calculation, lease, rent stabilization, rent-stabilized, limitations period, regulated, cases, methodology, fraudulent scheme, registered, rent regulation, preceding, luxury, base rent, increases, free market, retroactive, Renewal, willful, evade, rent-regulated

Real Property Law, Landlord & Tenant, Rent Regulation, Exemptions, Tax Law, State & Local Taxes, Real Property Taxes, Methods, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Deference to Agency Statutory Interpretation, Reviewability, Factual Determinations, Rent Regulation, Civil Procedure, Attorney Fees & Expenses, Basis of Recovery, Statutory Awards, Rent Control Statutes