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When the Court of Appeals ruled in Roberts v. Tishman Speyer Properties,1 that apartments in buildings receiving J-51 tax benefits remain subject to rent stabilization and cannot be deregulated at least as long as the benefits are in effect, it left a number of issues unresolved. One of the biggest issues left open was how to establish a legal regulated rent where a landlord had charged “market” rent, rather than a rent-stabilized rent, while in receipt of J-51 benefits. The decision in 72A Realty v. Lucas,2 of Dec. 4, 2012, begins to provide an answer.3 In Lucas, the Appellate Division, First Department, rejected the “Four Year Rule” under which legal regulated rents (and overcharges) are calculated based upon the rent that was being charged on the “base date” defined as four years prior to a tenant filing a complaint or raising a defense of rent overcharge.4

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