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LIC Tenant says Tishman Speyer Hiked His Rent in Violation of Rent Stabilization Laws

A tenant of Jackson Park, pictured, has sued Tishman Speyer for allegedly hiking his rent in violation of rent stabilization regulations. (GMaps)

Sept. 23, 2022 By Czarinna Andres

A tenant of a luxury apartment complex in Long Island City has filed a lawsuit alleging that a major development company hiked his rent by 58 percent—in violation of rent stabilization laws, the Commercial Observer reported.

The lawsuit, which was filed by a tenant of Jackson Park along with the watchdog group Housing Rights Initiative, was class certified by a New York State Supreme Court judge this week, which could permit other tenants of the 1,800-unit development to sign on to the suit.

The suit has been filed against Tishman Speyer, accusing the developer of the 28-10 Jackson Ave. building of skirting the rent stabilization regulations that it must adhere to as a beneficiary of the 421a tax-abatement program.

The tenant said that he faced a 58 percent rent hike from 2021 to 2022, arguing that the building’s rent hikes should be capped at 1.5 percent due to rent-stabilization requirements tied to the 421a tax benefit.

Tishman Speyer allegedly circumvented the requirements by not leasing the apartments to the residents, but by instead giving them contracts as licensees, the Observer reported, citing Roger Sachar and Lucas Ferrara of the Newman Ferrara law firm, who are representing the plaintiffs.

“They’re making tenants sign these forms that basically are saying they’re roommates to the landlord,” Ferrara told the Observer, calling Tishman’s business practices absurd.

Tishman Speyer argues in response to the allegations that it has followed rent regulations, and the increases were not in violation because the renewals accounted for a free month of rent granted as a concession during the pandemic.

The judge’s ruling earlier this week came as no surprise to Tishman Speyer.

“This was a routine procedural ruling on class-action status, not a decision on the merits of the case,” a Tishman Speyer spokesperson told the Observer.

The Housing Rights Initiative said that at least 3,000 former and current residents qualify for the class. If the plaintiffs prove their case, they could all receive reimbursement or rent reductions, as well as corrected contracts.

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10 Comments

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Josephine

How about renovations at NYCHA like fixing heat and hot water elevators hallways apartments stairwell etc…Got my free cable and wifi now help us get through winter! My apartment was freezing last night. Help us Won!!!!!!!

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Smh

How’s about moving out? How’s about making a better life for you and your family? Free cable and wife are incentives for these people to stay home and do nothing except wait for free government cheese. You have career criminals and career moochers. Generation and generation of NYCHA and welfare moochers.

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SmH too

SMH -wow that harsh But yea I know ppl just want freebies & not work I want a Mercedes but for now the Q32 is my set of transport .BTW I have to work no matter how I feel .

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Why are you criticizing elite real estate developers like Trump?

The Trump Org keeps a huge legal counsel for all the lawsuits. Did that make elite NYC real estate developers bad?!

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GeeBeave

Thanks Joe Conley, Steve Cooper and all the blind moles on CB2 who let this happen. Hope you were well paid.

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Douglas Shea

How did they let this happen. I lived a building in the 90’s that did the same exact scam. Told the tenants that tax abatements had expired when they didn’t. They raised the rents by the tax abatement amounts and still received the abatements. A lawyer who lived in the building uncovered the crime because he was doing work at the courthouse and figured he’d look into his rent increase.

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421A conjob

I’m shocked that they tried this, not surprised. These greedy people will never cease to amaze us.

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Lesson to Community Board 2

Thanks to the previous Community Board 2, for letting developers literally “bait-and-switch” tenants into agreements which they can’t break. This is exactly why Woodside and Sunnyside do not need any more buildings!!!

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