This afternoon, State Supreme Court Justice Debra James announced her decision in RSA’s lawsuit against the City’s Rent Guidelines Board (RGB), upholding the RGBs decision to freeze rents for one-year leases during last year’s deliberations (RGB Order No. 48). Please be advised that RSA will be reviewing the decision and will seek grounds for an appeal.
RSA President Joseph Strasburg released this statement after the decision was issued by Justice James:
“We strenuously disagree with the Court’s decision, particularly since less than two weeks ago, de Blasio admitted in a public forum that the rent freeze ‘happened under this administration because I instructed the RGB – I name the members – and I instructed them. It’s disappointing that this court didn’t see that de Blasio’s political influence resulted in the RGB using a parameter – tenant affordability – that is not allowed by law.”
“The RGB process, which is supposed to be independent of City Hall influence, has been corrupted by a Mayor that puts politics ahead of sound affordable housing policy, which is bad for tenants, affordable housing, and the owners of one million rent-stabilized apartments – the largest providers of affordable housing.”
In January, RSA argued in court that the RGB unlawfully took into consideration tenant affordability when determining the rent guidelines and did not act in accordance with the statute that requires the RGB to consider appropriate rent increases based on costs incurred by rent-stabilized property owners.
Additionally, on March 15th, Mayor Bill de Blasio publicly took credit for the rent freezes and his appointments to the Board and that the historic zero guidelines happened “under this administration because I instructed the Rent Guidelines Board — I name the members — and I instructed them to not follow the biases of the past, but be respectful of the needs of tenants and not just the needs of landlords…”
In light of this remarkable admission by Mayor de Blasio, Jeffrey Turkel of Rosenberg & Estis, who represented RSA, wrote to Justice James informing her of this significant development.
Despite these strong arguments, the court ruled against RSA and apartment building owners throughout the City. This decision by Justice James comes just two days before the RGB meets for the first time this year as they begin deliberations for RGB Order No. 49.
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RSA’s top priority is to protect the best interests of the rental housing industry by advocating in the State and City governments.
Although our staff takes pride in advocating on behalf of residential property owners, it is important that you make your voices heard to your local elected officials as well.
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