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Roberts v Tishman Speyer Props., L.P.

Court of Appeals of New York

September 10, 2009, Argued; October 22, 2009, Decided

No. 131


 [***390]  [**902]  [*279]  PER CURIAM.

In this lawsuit, nine plaintiff tenants of Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town, two adjoining Manhattan apartment complexes comprising 110 buildings and occupying roughly 80 acres between 14th and 23rd Streets along the East River (the properties or the apartment complexes) contend that defendants Tishman Speyer Properties, L.P., and PCV  [****2] ST Owner LP  [*280]  (collectively, PCV/ST), and Metropolitan Insurance and Annuity Company and   Metropolitan Tower Life Insurance Company (collectively, MetLife), the current and former owners of the properties, respectively, were not entitled to take advantage of the luxury decontrol provisions of the Rent Stabilization Law (RSL) 1  while simultaneously receiving tax incentive benefits under the City of New York's J-51 program. We agree.

] In New York City, multiple dwellings may qualify for tax incentives designed to encourage rehabilitation and improvements (see Administrative Code of City of NY § 11-243 [previously § J51-2.5]). Specifically, the City's J-51 program, authorized by Real Property Tax Law § 489, allows property owners who complete eligible projects to receive tax exemptions and/or abatements that continue for a period of years. Eligible projects include moderate and gut rehabilitations; major capital improvements (for example, asbestos abatement or boiler replacement); and conversions of lofts and other nonresidential buildings into multiple dwellings (see Administrative Code §§ 11-243 [b] ,  [****3] , [8]; 28 RCNY 5-03 [a]). Rental units in buildings receiving these exemptions and/or abatements must be registered with the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR), and are generally subject to rent stabilization for at least as long as the J-51 benefits are in force (see 28 RCNY at 5-03 [f]). The Department of Housing Preservation and Development administers the J-51 program in the City of New York.

MetLife apparently first applied for and received J-51 benefits for the properties in 1992. At the time, the apartment complexes, which MetLife built in the 1940s, had already been rent-stabilized since at least 1974.

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13 N.Y.3d 270 *; 918 N.E.2d 900 **; 890 N.Y.S.2d 388 ***; 2009 N.Y. LEXIS 3953 ****; 2009 NY Slip Op 7480

 [1]  Amy L. Roberts et al., on Behalf of Themselves and All Others Similarly Situated, Respondents, v Tishman Speyer Properties, L.P., et al., Appellants.

Subsequent History: Subsequent appeal at Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Props., L.P., 2011 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 7633 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep't, Nov. 3, 2011)

Prior History: Appeal, by permission of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in the First Judicial Department, from an order of that Court, entered March 5, 2009. The Appellate Division (1) reversed, on the law, a judgment of the Supreme Court, New York County (Richard B. Lowe, III, J.; op 2007 NY Slip Op 32639[U]), which had granted motions by defendants to dismiss the complaint and dismissed the complaint; and (2) reinstated the complaint. The following question was certified by the Appellate Division: "Was the order of this Court, which reversed the order of the Supreme Court, properly made?"

Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Props., L.P., 62 A.D.3d 71, 874 N.Y.S.2d 97, 2009 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 1545 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dep't, 2009)

Disposition:  [****1] Order affirmed, with costs, and certified question answered in the affirmative.


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Tax Law, State & Local Taxes, Real Property Taxes, Exemptions, Real Property Law, Landlord & Tenant, Rent Regulation, Rent Control Statutes, Administrative Law, Judicial Review, Standards of Review, Rule Interpretation, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation