Landlord and Tenant

Regina Metro Co., LLC et al. v New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal

Court: Court of Appeals
Index #: 2020 NY Slip Op 02127
Plaintiff: Regina Metro Co., LLC et al. (Appellant herein)
Defendant: New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (Respondent herein)

Facts: This is the consolidation of four appeals under the Rent Stabilization Law (“RSL”). RSL included a four-year statute of limitations for tenant applications for rent overcharges. Despite this four-year statute of limitations, groups of tenants had applied for relief from rent overcharges in apartments which were owned by landlords who had received the benefits of J-51, a housing program. Tenants applied for relief from overcharges which were, in some instances, more than ten years old claiming that the passage of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (“HSTPA”), which made sweeping changes to the RSL, entitled them to apply for relief from older rent overcharges. The Division of Housing and Community Renewal (“DHCR”) had permitted such applications. In certain instances, the First Department annulled the determinations of the DHCR granting rent overcharges.

Holding: The Court of Appeals affirmed the annulling of the DHCR rulings on rent overcharges, finding that retroactive applications would deny landlords due process. Landlords had maintained rent rolls and records based upon the statute of limitations which existed prior to the passage of HSTPA. To impose a new statute of limitations would present an unfair burden upon landlords.

Submitted: Davida S. Scher, Esq.

Precis:Davida S. Scher