On April 26, 2018, the Court of Appeals in Altman v. 285 West Fourth LLC, unanimously reversed the Appellate Division, First Department and deregulated tens of thousands of New York City apartments whose rents had crossed the monetary deregulation threshold between April 1, 1997 and June 16, 2011.

For apartments involuntarily placed under rent regulation in New York City, those regulations are removed when a vacant apartment crosses a certain rent level. However, previously unresolved in the case law was whether, in order to effect deregulation, that rent level had to be reached during the tenancy of the last tenant prior to vacancy, or could be reached through implementation of various increases allowed to owners between two actual tenancies. Before the Court of Appeals was the question as to the necessary circumstances for these increases to qualify under so-called “luxury decontrol” [Rent Stabilization Law (NYC Administrative Code) §26-504.2(a)] to lift the apartment out of rent regulation.

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