Lower Court Improperly Applied HSTPA Amendments Retroactively
LVT Number: #31672
Rent-stabilized tenant sued landlord for rent overcharge. The court ruled for tenant and directed landlord in October 2019 to refund overcharges, with triple damages. Landlord appealed and won in part. In calculating the overcharge, the lower court had incorrectly applied Rent Stabilization Law amendments enacted under HSTPA while the overcharge claim was pending. Tenant's claim was subject to a four-year statute of limitations and a two-year lookback for triple damages. So the total overcharge refund was reduced to $536,313. The overcharge must be calculated from the base date at $1,311 per month and frozen at that rate under RSL Section 26-5117(e) because it is undisputed that the overcharge wasn't attributable to nonregistration but to the charging of a free market rent.
After the lower court decided the case, landlord renewed a request for the court to look at the matter, claiming that the apartment was exempt from rent stabilization because tenant was a corporate tenant and not entitled to RSL protection. The appeals court ruled that the lower court properly denied that request because an appeals court had previously ruled in tenant's favor on that question in this case. Landlord didn't show that there were new facts or a change in the law that would change the court's ruling.
Kreisler v. B-U Realty Corp.: Case No. 2020-03008, 2021 NY Slip Op 05816, NYLJ 10/28/21, p. 18, col. 5 (App. Div. 1 Dept.; 10/28/21; Kern, JP, Oing, Singh, Mendez, Higgitt, JJ)
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