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Scott E. Mollen Scott E. Mollen

Landlord-Tenant—Rent Stabilization—Owners’ Personal Use Action Dismissed—Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019—Due Process Claims Under 5th and 14th Amendments Rejected—Owners Who Buy Properties in Heavily Regulated Industry That Have Been “Subject to the Winds of Changing Legislative Priorities” Cannot Argue They Lost Vested Rights—HSTPA Did Not Constitute Unconstitutional Impairment of Contractual Relations—Pendulum Has Now Swung in Favor of Tenants

This decision involved a six-unit building comprised of two units each on the first, second, and third floors. In June 2018, the owner served notices of non-renewal and notices of termination upon the respondent tenants, stating the owner’s intention to recover the subject apartments in order to “combine them to create a four-bedroom apartment for his son.” In October 2018, the owner commenced “three other owner’s personal use proceedings against other tenants in the same building. The proceedings were consolidated for a joint trial….” Thereafter, the tenants moved to dismiss the proceedings “pursuant to CPLR §3211(a)(7), based on the failure to state a cause of action.” The owner opposed the motion and argued that the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA) violates his “due process rights and protections pursuant to the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution and Article I, Section 6 of the New York State Constitution.”

The HSTPA enacted on June 14, 2019, amended Rent Stabilization Law (RSL) §26-511(c)(9) to read that: “[A]n owner shall not refuse to renew a lease except…where he or she seeks to recover possession of one dwelling unit because of immediate and compelling necessity for his or her own personal use and occupancy as his or her primary residence or for the use and occupancy for a member of his or her immediate family as his or her primary residence.”

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