The Inside Edge has been closely following the case of Roberts vs. Tishman from Supreme Court (see The Inside Edge, September 2007 edition) to the Appellate Division (see The Inside Edge, March 2009 edition). Now the Court of Appeals has issued a ruling that finally settles the issue of whether buildings with J-51 tax benefits can utilize the luxury decontrol provisions of the rent stabilization law. They cant.

But in answering this question the Court of Appeals has clarified the law on how to deal with this problem going forward. It has, however, not provided guidance on how to resolve the many issues that remain for tenants and owners that are not in compliance today. The answers to those questions will await further litigation and, perhaps, future Court of Appeals decisions. Worse, the two administrative agencies most impacted, the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (which administers the New York City Rent Stabilization Law of 1969 and its successors) and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (the primary administrator of the tax abatement and exemption program for rehabilitated multiple dwellings under 11-242 of the NYC Administrative Code, popularly known as the J-51 tax program) are left with little guidance on how to resolve such questions. This Inside Edge will examine the open questions and their impact on the administration of the rent stabilization law and of the J 51 tax program.

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By Harold Shultz
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