BatteryPark.TV was the first news source Downtown to report on how many of the so-called “luxury condos” should actually be rent-stabilized because they are fake condos taking 421-a tax benefits. We filed a complaint with the New York Attorney General’s office, which oversees condominiums and matters like this. We also filed a federal lawsuit.
In the news today, NY AG Scheiderman announced that he is forcing 128 landlords to convert a total 1,800 apartments into rent-stabilized units because they have been illegally taking the tax breaks of 421-a but not providing any affordable housing or rent-stabilization.
The NY Daily News reports, “More than 1,800 New York City apartments are moving into the rent stabilization system in a deal with landlords who have been improperly benefiting from lucrative affordable housing tax breaks.
The agreements cover 128 landlords who had been receiving the state 421-a affordable housing tax credit without registering their buildings in the rent stabilization program or offering their tenants rent stabilized leases, as required.
“Landlords of rental buildings who accept these tax incentives must follow through on their end of the bargain and offer rent regulated leases to their tenants,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. “That’s the chief purpose of the 421-a law.”
The agreement with the landlords involved not only Schneiderman’s office, but also the state and city housing agencies.
“We will not tolerate landlords who break the law — plain and simple,” Gov. Cuomo said.
If tenants have been overcharged, the landlords as part of the settlement have agreed to give them rebates.
Moving forward, those tenants will be eligible for rent stabilized leases.
“The return of these apartments to rent stabilization will not only bring economic stability to the families that occupy them, but also honor the spirit of the law as it was intended,” Schneiderman said.
Cuomo called it “an important step toward protecting New York’s renters from overcharges and rent gouging.”
The state and city created a Real Estate Tax Compliance Program earlier this year that found 194 landlords were in violation of the 421-a tax credit requirements. Of those, 111 agreed to rectify the situation by registering their 1,415 combined apartments in the rent stabilization program.
The remaining landlords who so far have refused to participate in the compliance program face potential revocation of their 421-a tax benefits, officials said. The Cuomo-controlled state Tenant Protection Unit is set to begin enforcement actions against landlords who are not in compliance, the officials said.
Meanwhile, another 17 landlords receiving 421-a benefits have recently agreed in separate agreements with Schneiderman’s office to place their combined 408 apartments into the rent regulation program.
Those landlords also agreed to pay a combined $5 million into a city fund that will be used to help pay for housing developments for low-income families.
“We are using every tool we have to bring more affordable housing online, but we are equally focused on protecting the housing we already have,” Mayor de Blasio said.”