STUYVESANT TOWN — Owners of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village housing complexes have agreed to refund tenants $68.7 million in overcharged rent dating back to 2003, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association announced.
Tenants had accused the complexes’ owners of illegally stripping their apartments of rent-stabilized status to hike rents.
The agreement, announced Thursday, follows a 5-year legal battle. An earlier interim settlement provided tenants $2.4 million in refunds and $75.7 million in rent rollbacks — putting the total rent recovery at $146.85 million, attorneys representing the tenants estimated.
“We believe this settlement provides an extraordinary recovery for our clients and we couldn’t be happier for them,” said Ronald Aranoff, one of the tenants' attorneys.
In 2009, New York state’s Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the tenants and left it to them and their landlords to determine the amount of the overcharges and the proper rent rate going forward.
The 21,250 current and former tenants are eligible for settlements of between $150 and six figures, with nine plaintiffs getting at least $25,000, according to The New York Times.
City Councilman Daniel R. Garodnick, who lives in the housing complex and has supported his neighbors in their legal battle, said he is waiting to see if the agreement will have an adverse effect on other tenants' rents.
"Tenants had overpaid for years as a result of illegal rent deregulation, and they have been waiting a long time for relief,” Garodnick said in a statement. “I am concerned that a significant number of tenants may be subject to rent increases under this agreement.”
Thursday’s agreement still needs to be officially sanctioned by a judge. The two sides are due back in court on April 9, 2013.