Suit Filed to Reverse NYC Rent Board Ruling

villagebldg.jpgPraise your good fortune! First, as citizens of the United States, you are now the proud owners of a large insurance company.

Also, if you have been affected by a supplemental rent increase passed by the Rent Guidelines Board in June, a lawsuit has been filed on your behalf. Mercedes Casado, Paul Hertgen, and New State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition, Inc., petition against Board Chairman Marvin Markus, saying the Board "exceeded its authority" by enacting the 2008 Apartment and Loft Law #40, which allowed landlords to hit tenants of six years' standing whose rent is less than $1,000 a month with a supplemental increase.

The measure was passed in "haste" at a Board meeting on June 19 without proper debate or consideration of "the economic conditions of the real estate industry," cost of living adjustments, and so forth, and contravenes the New York State Rent Stabilization Law, the petitioners charge.

Petitioner Casado pays $792.31 per month for her Inwood apartment, and the supplemental will raise her rent $85 to $824.31, shifting the percentage of her income as a home attendant that she pays in rent from 48 percent to 53 percent. (The suit adds that her landlord has failed to make requested repairs.) Petitioner Hertgen of Staten Island, who made $27,000 as a truck driver last year, gets an increase of 12 percent, "nearly double the increase that other rent stabilized New Yorkers who opt for a two year renewal lease," a great hardship considering that his wife, who died of cancer in January, is no longer contributing any of her Social Security benefits, the suit claims.

They seek vacation of the supplemental, court costs, and "such other and further relief as this Court deems just and proper."

City Council speaker Christine Quinn announced the suit yesterday, calling the supplemental a "poor tax" and "a target on low-income tenants in gentrifying neighborhoods," reports the New York Times.

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