Stuy Town tenants sue over rents
The Associated Press
January 23, 2007, 10:06 AM EST
A group of tenants at Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village want to see their rents rolled back, saying the complex's owners illegally charged market-rate rents while benefitting from tax breaks that should have precluded them from doing so.The suit, filed Monday in Manhattan state Supreme Court, names both the previous owner of the complex, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and Tishman Speyer Properties, which bought it for a record $5.4 billion last year. Most of the more than 11,000 units in the property are under rent regulation, while about 3,000 are not. The class-action lawsuit asks that those 3,000 apartments be put back under rent regulation for another 10 years, until a series of city-given tax breaks expire. Those tax breaks are given in exchange for unit owners agreeing to keep rents reasonably low. Those filing the lawsuit say that means the owners shouldn't be charging market-level rent.The suit also asks for $320 million in damages, The New York Times reported in Tuesday's editions.A spokesman for Met Life declined to comment to the paper, while a spokesman for Tishman said the suit was without merit.