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Tenants Win a Round in Tribeca Rent Battle

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thousands of tenants in a downtown Manhattan's Independence Plaza complex have won a round in their long-running legal battle with their landlord, Laurence Gluck. A judge has ruled the conversion of 1,300 apartments at the complex from rent-regulated to market-rate was illegal because Gluck continued to receive a city tax credit known as J-51 even after beginning conversions.

Diane Lapson, President of the Indpendence Plaza Tenants Association, said the ruling has put her in a "cautiously optimistic" mood.

"I believe that the landlord would probably want to appeal and so our work is not over and we might have a little battle ahead but to me this win is very significant," Lapson said.

A spokesman for the landlord says Gluck is "disappointed" and will continue the fight to keep collecting higher rents.

The judge's decision means some tenants will see rent reductions and others can claim overcharge damages. This is the second major case in which the judge has found for the tenants because the landlord continued to receive J-51 credits from the city after converting to market-rate.

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