Justice Judith J. Gische


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Upon rent-controlled tenant Berghof’s death in 2004, her six-room Manhattan apartment was renovated and then leased to Playfair on May 1, 2005. Playfair moved out on Sept. 20, 2010. At the time his monthly rent was $7,600. His landlord’s J-51 tax exemption benefits expired in June 2010. The apartment was then leased by petitioners. A rent administrator’s May 9, 2013 order dismissed their fair market rent appeal (FMRA) as time barred, finding the apartment became decontrolled on May 1, 2005. Discussing Roberts v. Tishman Speyer and Gersten v. 56 7th Ave. LLC, First Department affirmed supreme court’s Oct. 27, 2015 ruling denying annulment of respondent DHCR’s Aug. 2014, order affirming dismissal of petitioners’ FMRA. When petitioners leased the apartment in 2010 all circumstances permitting luxury decontrol were present and satisfied. As the apartment was removed from rent control in 2005, any FMRA would have to have been filed no later than 2009, before petitioners took occupancy. DHCR rationally found petitioners’ 2012 FMRA untimely. Nor was there any evidence that the building’s owner engaged in a fraudulent deregulation scheme to remove the subject apartment from the protections of the rent stabilization law.