The city’s Department of Finance is expected to begin contacting thousands of renters who may have been wrongfully terminated from the city’s rent-freeze programMore than 12,000 seniors and people with disabilities may be eligible for retroactive rent rollbacks, DNAinfo reported. Advocacy group JASA joined with Cardozo Bet-Tzdek Legal Services and the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation Legal Services two years ago to file a lawsuit against the department on behalf of eight renters who they say were wrongfully cut out of the rent freeze program.
The suit claims that renters were either been terminated because they didn’t re-register in time, or were re-enrolled at higher rents. The lawsuit alleged the city had violated both the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the renters’ constitutional right to due process.
According to court papers, almost 600 people were terminated from the program or were re-enrolled at a higher rate. Finance Department records show that around 11,500 people have lost their benefit eligibility.
“We know those 600 will be examined for retroactive relief,” said Donna Dougherty, of JASA.
The case is not yet settled, and the Department of Finance declined to comment to DNAinfo.
In March, the city agreed to pay $130,000 in legal fees and damages to 10 older or disabled renters who said they were wrongly removed from the program after their spouses or parents died. [DNAinfo] — Miriam Hall