Legal Test on Rent Regulation for Landlords

The state's highest court will hear arguments today in a case that could result in hundreds of landlords owing thousands of tenants back rent. WNYC's Cindy Rodriguez reports.

REPORTER: At issue is whether the owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village should have been allowed to raise rents, turning rent regulated apartments market rate, while receiving a so-called J-51 tax credit. A panel of appellate judges ruled the practice was illegal. The decision was appealed to the state's highest court. And a ruling could impact all landlords that have raised rents the same way. City Councilman Daniel Garodnick lives at Peter Cooper Village and says people are watching the outcome closely.

GARODNICK: Tenants believe that they were wronged and that these apartments should never have been taken out of the rent stabilization system.

REPORTER: A landlord group, the Rent Stabilization Association, has said the Stuytown tenants are well to do and don't need a windfall.

The court of appeals won't rule on the case for several months. In a written statement, owner Tishman Speyer says the lawsuit was originally dismissed and it's convinced that was the right decision. For WNYC, I'm Cindy Rodriguez.