In front of the Court of Appeals are two cases which outcomes may signal potentially enormous changes in how practitioners will practice landlord-tenant law. For determination is whether litigants must first go to the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) to hear their overcharge cases and whether such cases are amenable to class action treatment.

The First Department in Collazo v. Netherland Property Assets, 155 A.D.3d 538, found that rent overcharge should be determined before the DHCR in the first instance. The same judicial department in Maddicks v. Big City Properties, 163 A.D.3d 501, closely divided, declined to sustain the dismissal of prosecution of an overcharge action as a class action pre-answer. Although both cases came from the same judicial department, they are not necessarily in conflict, given the tough standards for “failure to state a cause of action,” as compared to dismissal of class prosecution later in the process. However, by entertaining both suits, the Court of Appeals is presented with the opportunity to identify any conflict and resolve it.

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