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Rent rules facing second lawsuit

A second lawsuit has been filed against New York’s Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (HSTPA).

The Building and Realty Institute (BRI) of Westchester and Putnam Counties, the Apartment Owners Advisory Council (AOAC) and several multifamily property owners have sued New York State Homes and Community Renewal Agency (HCR) /Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR)

in the U.S. District Court, Southern District in White Plains.

The group is alleging the strict new rent regulations introduced last summer to over a million apartments are unconstitutional, the same tactic used by the Rent Stabilization Association (RSA) and Community Home Improvement Program (CHIP) in the lawsuit they filed in July.

The lawsuit claims the new rent regulations constitutes an unlawful “taking” without compensation and is an arbitrary exercise of governmental power over the 25,000 rental apartments in Westchester County and some 500,000 other residences in the county the law covers.

FRANK RICCI

“The HSTPA limits the landlords’ financial ability to improve and maintain multifamily housing in those 21 communities in Westchester that have adopted ETPA, thereby reducing the quality of affordable multifamily housing available for rent,” states the suit.

“Without this income, the rent regulated Westchester multifamily housing will deteriorate in the coming years, to the detriment of both tenants and landlords.”

Among “unintended consequences” of the HSTPA, the BRI suit says it will limit the ability of cooperatives to investigate potential shareholders and delay their ability to collect overdue maintenance and additional charges.

The BRI is a building, realty and construction industry membership organization with more than 1,500 members in 14 counties of New York State.

The AOAC of the BRI represents approximately 300 owners who are responsible for more than 17,000 rental units in the Westchester and Mid-Hudson Region.

The CCAC of the BRI represents more than 400 co-op and condominium buildings and complexes in the Westchester and Mid-Hudson Region.

Meanwhile, the Rent Stabilization Association, which represents 25,000 property owners and agents in the city, is conducting a survey to determine how much the new laws are costing in terms of jobs.

“We are doing a survey of contractors and vendors to get a dollar amount on how much work is not getting done that should be getting does and how much that is costing in terms of jobs,” said Frank Ricci, the RSA’s director of government affairs.

“There are a lot of contractors laying offer workers and vendors who supply buildings with new appliances are losing money. We are trying to quantify what the change in the law is doing to the businesses that do business with owners.”

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