Judge temporarily blocks water-rate hike for landlords

The increase is barred until June 20
June 07, 2016 06:00PM

Faucet (credit: Wikimedia Commons) (inset: )

Faucet (credit: Wikimedia Commons) (inset: Joseph Strasburg and Mayor Bill de Blasio)

A New York State Supreme Court judge on Tuesday temporarily barred the city from raising water rates for landlords and granting a water bill refund to other homeowners.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Carol Edmead signed a restraining order on Tuesday that will block a 2.1 percent water-rate hike for landlords, condo and co-op owners, the New York Post reported. The city’s Water Board implemented the increase last month, along with a one-time $183 credit for some 664,000 one​-​, two​-​ and three​-​family homeowners on their water bills. The Rent Stabilization Association and other landlords filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the city, claiming that the Water Board didn’t have the authority to increase rates nor provide the credit. Edmead’s order will block both until the next court hearing, which is scheduled for June 20.

The landlord group argues that the water bill credit is unfairly being funded by the rate hike. The group blames the mayor’s “political agenda” for the board’s May 20 resolution.

“This is yet another example of the mayor putting politics before sound housing policy — increasing costs for apartment building owners, yet freezing the rent revenue that owners need to pay these city-imposed increases,” said Joseph Strasburg, president of the landlord group.

A spokesman for the city told the Post that this is the lowest water and sewer rate change in the last 16 years and that the Water Board followed proper procedures. [NYP]Kathryn Brenzel