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New York City landlords bring suit over rent freeze

Some New York City landlords have taken legal action following a rent freeze in the city enacted by the Rent Guidelines Board. Recently, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board adopted Order No. 48, which has been endorsed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and places a freeze on rent increases. For one-year leases, rent increases are frozen at zero percent, and for two-year leases, rent increases are frozen at two percent.

This is the second year in a row that this rent freeze has affected rental agreements, and some New York City landlords have taken legal action in Manhattan State Supreme Court. Four Brooklyn landlords, who together own more than one million apartments, have filed a lawsuit asking for judicial intervention in the matter. The majority of the landlords' apartments are rent-stabilized. The Rent Stabilization Association, a trade group which represents 25,000 landlords in New York City, has joined the landlords in the filing.

The landlords and the Rent Stabilization Association contend that the Rent Guidelines Board exercised powers not permitted under the city's Rent Stabilization Law in enacting the rent freeze. Furthermore, the landlords contend that the rent freezes negatively affect them and that they are unconstitutional. The plaintiffs are asking that a judge not only annul Order No. 48, but also declare it unconstitutional and require the Rent Guidelines Board to draft a new version that comports with the law.

This recent issue is just one of many circumstances that can affect a relationship between a landlord and tenant. Both tenants and landlords need to be aware of landlord obligations and how current legal issues may affect rental properties. Landlords or tenants who are experiencing issues related to potential rent freezes or rent increases may find that an attorney who is experienced in landlord-tenant disputes can provide helpful guidance on such matters.

Source: courthousenews.com, "Facing Year 2 of NYC Rent Freeze, Landlords Sue," Josh Russell, July 18, 2016

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