On August 31, 2022, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal (“DHCR”) released proposed amendments to the Rent Stabilization Code (“RSC”), to conform the RSC to the changes made to the Rent Stabilization Law by the NYS Legislature on June 14, 2019, known as the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (“HSTPA”).

Housing Justice for All (HJ4A), is a statewide movement comprised of tenants and homeless New Yorkers. Collins, Dobkin & Miller, LLP agreed to submit comments on the rent overcharge portion of the proposed DHCR Code amendments, which will be included with HJ4A’s final submission to DHCR. The comments submitted to HJ4A can be found here.

DHCR’s overcharge proposal would eviscerate the rent-setting provisions of the HSTPA, by allowing illegal rents that were in place as of June 14, 2015 to remain in place forever.  The HSTPA was, among other things, designed to permit overcharges throughout the rent stabilization system to be corrected, no matter how long ago they took place.  We urge all interested tenants to join HJ4A, one of the many advocacy groups that are speaking out in opposition to this pro-landlord proposal.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with HJ4A on this important issue and for their permission to post these comments.

Disclaimer: HJ4A may edit these comments before they are finally submitted to DHCR.

May 3, 2022: Hold the line on stabilized rents, NYC: It’s a moral and economic imperative, By Tim Collins and Oksana Mironova -Opinion, New York Daily News• May 03, 2022

Excerpt: The RGB’s preliminary vote, which is scheduled for May 5, will have an outsized impact on the lives of low-income tenants, with 365,000 low-income households living in rent-stabilized housing, twice the amount who live in public and subsidized housing combined. We call on the board to reject any rent-increase proposals, and to use their power to keep tenants out of Housing Court and off the streets. Continue Reading…

By Timothy L. Collins

Excerpt: As I have testified in prior years, the Rent Guidelines Board (“RGB”) is tasked with two fundamental responsibilities: To review economic conditions within the city’s rental markets and to establish rent guidelines that limit the effects of the ongoing housing shortage on rent burdens. As this and prior submissions have shown, while there has been a prodigious expansion of research and analysis over the past few decades, the Board has fallen short in three specific matters in need of review. As will further be shown, notwithstanding the fact that Board decisions have gradually begun to mitigate the grossly excessive guidelines during the six year
period from 2009 to 2014, the effects of those excessive guidelines continue to overcompensate owners and unnecessarily burden tenants.
Continue reading…..

June 29, 2021: Mount Vernon Tenants Challenge Rent Agency, by Bill Heltzel.

Excerpt: For decades, tenants of Westchester Plaza in Mount Vernon have fought owners of the rent controlled housing to maintain a swimming pool and other amenities, according to a lawsuit, and 16 times the state agency that regulates the apartment complex has backed them…Manhattan attorney Seth A. Miller represents the tenants. Read the Article Here.

June 23, 2021: On June 23, 2021, the NYC Rent Guidelines Board adopted new rent guidelines for rent stabilized leases commencing between October 1, 2021 and September 30, 2022 :

  • For a one-year lease commencing on or after October 1, 2021 and on or before September 30, 2022:
    • 0% for the first 6 months of the lease and
    • 1.5% for the remaining 6 months of the lease.
  • For a two-year lease commencing on or after October 1, 2021 and on or before September 30, 2022: 2.5%

June 17, 2020: Rent Guidelines Board: N.Y.C., Facing Pandemic Fallout, Freezes Rent for 2 Million Tenants for a YearThe New York City panel that sets rents for the roughly 2.3 million residents of rent-regulated apartments on Wednesday froze those rents for a year, delivering a slight reprieve to tenants struggling in the worst economy in decades.

May 27, 2021: Partner Seth Miller filed an Article 78 on behalf of the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association challenging the NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal (“DHCR”) on rent increases for all rent regulated tenants. The lawsuit seeks a judgment nullifying DHCR’s recently promulgated Reasonable Cost Schedule (RCS) for major capital improvements (MCIs) as violating the provisions of the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (HSTPA).  Read Press Release.

April 23, 2020: The Real Deal, Rent-stabilized housing income falls for the first time in 20 years: report

April 1, 2020: The Real Deal, A Glaring Gray Area for Stuy Town, Blackstone and the City. By Georgia Kronrei 

Excerpt: Nonetheless, the one-time deal between Blackstone and the city can’t overrule a change to general law, said Manhattan attorney Tim Collins, who is representing the plaintiffs in their suit.

“The regulatory agreement was made in good faith, but any claim that [it] trumps future legislation would mean that some agreement made in the past would immunize a building or group of tenants from general law going forward,” Collins argued. “And that makes no sense at all.”

March 31, 2020: Law360, Attorneys Predict Rent Cancellation Defense, Challenges, by Emma Whitford

Excerpt: This case [Levy Leasing Co. v. Siegel] reiterated that states have the power to regulate rents and evictions under circumstances where the markets are not working well and people are facing either the prospect of profiteering or homelessness as a result of abnormal conditions,” Tim Collins, a partner with Collins, Dobkin & Miller, LLP told Law360 Monday. *** In the case of the Gianaris bill, Collins, who represents tenants, argues that “the public emergency could not be more clear.” “The bottom line is, I think it is clearly constitutional, but I would expect a fight over it,” he added.

March 4, 2020: Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association attorney Timothy Collins, filed An Action In New York State Supreme Court Asking For Declaratory Judgment On Whether New Rent Laws Apply To Residents Of New York’s Iconic Middle-Class Housing Development

March 11, 2020: The Real Deal, Trapped in rent-regulation? Stuy Town case raises broader J-51 concerns

“If Roberts v. Tishman was [World War I], Stuy Town v. Blackstone could mark the beginning of WWII,” said Aaron Carr, executive director of Housing Rights Initiative, which has brought numerous J-51 overcharge cases against landlords.”  

March 6, 2020: The Real Deal, City sides with tenants at Stuy Town in case against Blackstone

January 20, 2020: Watch Seth Miller argue Raden v W7879, LLC at the NYS Court of Appeals, a case about the applicability of the HSTPA of 2019 to pending cases.

The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. Recently enacted amendments to the Rent Stabilization Law, as well as other laws, may affect your rights as a tenant. The amendments concern claims for rent overcharges, preferential rents, rent increases for Major Capital Improvements, continued stabilization coverage under the law, and additional rights for unregulated tenants.

Please contact us for a consultation to evaluate how these changes may affect your claims or rights.

Colllins, Dobkin, Miller LLP represents Tenant Groups and Individual Tenants, Cooperative Shareholders, and Condominium Owners. We are experienced in complex litigation involving Rent Stabilization, Rent Control, Loft Law, Co-op and Condo law, Mitchell Lama and HDFC Conversions, and Commercial Evictions. Please contact us 212.587.2400 or via email info@collinsdobkinmiller.com for assistance.