Building Converted from Five to Six Apartments Became Rent Stabilized
LVT Number: #31440
Landlord brought five separate eviction proceedings against five tenants in the same building. Landlord claimed that the tenants were unregulated because the building contained fewer than six residential units. The cases were consolidated by the court, and each tenant argued that they were rent stabilized because the building at one time contained six residential units.
Tenants stated that between 2001 and 2003, if not longer, the first-floor apartment had been divided into two separate residential units. It was undisputed that there were four additional apartments on the upper floors. Three tenants submitted sworn statements that prior landlord combined the first-floor units into one apartment after one of the first-floor tenants moved upstairs. New landlord bought the building in 2017 and failed to submit any statement or documentation to rebut tenants' claim. The court granted tenants' request to dismiss the cases without trial.
Landlord appealed and lost. Once a building old enough to be rent stabilized contains six or more units, all of the units in the building are brought under rent stabilization. The rent stabilization status continues even if the number of units is later reduced to fewer than six. The court cited a number of prior cases were courts had made similar rulings.
111 Kingsland Ave. v. Volchanin: Index No. 2019-1464, 2021 NY Slip Op 50417(U)(App. T. 2 Dept.; 5/7/21; Aliotta, PJ, Elliot, Toussaint, JJ)