Wall Street Rent Fight Spurs New Class-Action Suit as Landlord Seeks SCOTUS Help


Professor Nestor Davidson was quoted in an article in The City regarding downtown tenants’ attempts to recoup what they say are years of rent overcharges. The class-action lawsuit seeks the return of back rent and new rent-stabilized leases for residents, even as one landlord is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take the owners’ side in the fight.

The suit marks the latest in a string of legal actions taken by Financial District tenants following a June ruling by the state’s top court that found owners of buildings benefiting from a downtown-only tax break known as 421-g must give rent-stabilized leases to their tenants.

Few had been doing so. The ruling by New York’s Court of Appeals has paved the way for current and former tenants of about 6,000 downtown apartments to seek rent they’re owed going back six years in some cases.

Fordham Law Professor Nestor Davidson said the petition by Clipper Equity “raises a distinctive constitutional issue that may interest the court” — whether a state court’s decision can infringe on, or take away, property rights. The issue was addressed in a 2010 decision over a Florida beachfront, but not decided in a conclusive way, he said.

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