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On April 26, the New York State Court of Appeals unanimously reversed a 2015 decision of the Appellate Division, First Department in Altman v. 285 West Fourth LLC (127 AD3d 654 [1st Dept. 2015]). An affirmance would have resulted in the “re-stabilization” of thousands of previously deregulated apartments, along with tens of millions of dollars in rent refunds and rent reductions. The Court of Appeals decision ends a brief, but lively, chapter in the never-ending rent wars.

In the interest of full disclosure, co-author Jeffrey Turkel argued the Altman appeal in the Court of Appeals on behalf of the landlord.

Legislative History

The New York State Legislature first enacted luxury deregulation in 1993, permitting the permanent deregulation of vacant apartments with a rent of $2,000 or more per month. See L. 1993, ch 253. The issue then arose as to whether, for purposes of deregulation, the rent had to be $2,000 at the time the outgoing tenant vacated, or merely had to be $2,000 by the time the incoming tenant moved in.

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