Bronx tenants sue Parkoff over J-51 deregulation

Plaintiffs claim their apartments should remain rent-stabilized

TRD New York /
Sep.September 12, 2016 02:30 PM

A group of tenants at a northwest Bronx apartment building are suing landlord Parkoff Organization for allegedly deregulating units in violation of rent control laws.

In a lawsuit filed last week, 30 tenants at 3300 Netherland Avenue claim that their apartments should still be rent-stabilized because the 67-unit building received the J-51 tax abatement. The tenants seek a ruling returning their units to stabilized status, a refund for the rent they allege was overcharged and legal expenses.

A representative for Parkoff could not immediately be reached for comment. Aaron Carr, the founder of nonprofit Housing Rights Initiative, told The Real Deal that his organization uncovered the alleged violation and put the tenants in touch with law firm Himmelstein, McConnell, Gribben, Donoghue & Joseph.

The six-story, 82,100-square-foot property was constructed in the 1940s, records show.

According to a 2009 court ruling, tenants in J-51 buildings are legally protected from deregulation. But the ruling has rarely been enforced, and a recent ProPublica investigation found that around 50,000 apartments charged market rent even though they benefitted from the tax abatement program over the past decades.

In January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all landlords of J-51 buildings to re-register their units for rent protection.  Last month, tenants at Fairstead Capital’s Harlem building 207 Central Park North sued the landlord for allegedly deregulating units despite receiving the abatement.

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