October 12, 2011 08:30AM
Tenants of Pinnacle Group buildings, largely in Northern Manhattan, want a judge to throw out a settlement their lawyers reached with the landlord for rent overcharges, the New York Daily News reported.
Five years ago tenants sued Pinnacle, one of the city's biggest rent-stabilized apartment owners, for illegal rent charges and harassing tenants in an effort to drive them out and increase rents. Lawyers found rent-stabilized tenants, whose rents are registered with the state, had been, in some cases, charged as much as $800 per month more than the state registry indicates.
As per the terms of the agreement reached by Pinnacle and the plaintiffs' lawyers, Pinnacle has hired a court administrator to settle the claims and award damages to the tenants.
However, many of the rents were set by the previous owners of the building, including notorious low-income housing owner Barry Singer, and merely continued by Pinnacle.
Under the agreement, Pinnacle is "not liable for any alleged rent overcharges for any rent set by a prior owner." That means many of the plaintiffs, who began renting before Pinnacle took control of the buildings, are not eligible for any award.
Plaintiffs will speak before a judge next week, urge him to toss the aforementioned settlement and seek damages that cover more tenants. [NYDN]