Since the surge of tenant class action rent overcharge cases began circa 2017, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C., has defended a number of the targeted NYC owners of buildings who participated in the J-51 tax exemption and abatement program and did not, for one reason or another, immediately re-regulate units after the 2009 Court of Appeals decision in Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Props., L.P. The tenant advocacy group behind these lawsuits seeks not just a roll back of rent to the rates charged as far as back as 1984, but a return of rents paid above the rolled back rent for at least the four year period and at most the six year period preceding the complaint, depending on whether the suit predates the enactment of the Housing Stability and Protection Act of 2019.
The post-Roberts confusion amongst property owners on how to set the rents in apartments that were deregulated while the building was receiving J-51 tax benefits is a widely litigated issue in these class actions cases. Leveraging off the fact that the owner, despite its confusion, re-regulated units and attempted to bring the building into Roberts compliance before the tenants sued, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. reached a settlement that saved its client nearly $800,000 in damages. To help settle the case now rather than after expensive litigation, Adam Leitman Bailey, P.C. used the real threat that the tenants would not see actual recovery of damages for years to come.
The industry continues to see one pro-tenant decision after another in what is commonly referred to as the J-51 class action cases. To settle this case in spite of such a tenant-friendly climate was in and of itself victory.