Glambosky and Honig Defeat Tenant’s Effort to Reopen Rent Claim Based on HSTPA

November 26, 2019 | Real Estate, Zoning & Land Use | Commercial Litigation

Erez Glambosky and Jeremy Honig prevailed on behalf of their landlord client. The Court ruled that the tenant cannot reopen an overcharge claim based upon HSTPA Choice of Forum.

Plaintiff-tenant moved to renew/reargue the Court’s order from June 3, 2019, dismissing plaintiff’s overcharge complaint and directing him to file before the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR). Plaintiff relied upon the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (HSTPA), enacted June 14, 2019, to support his motion and claim that, pursuant to the HSPTA, a tenant has a choice of forum in a rent overcharge action and that such an action may not be transferred to the DHCR when the tenant initiates the action in Court.

In denying the plaintiff’s motion the Court agreed with the landlord-defendant that the HSTPA did not overrule longstanding precedent regarding the Court’s discretion to invoke primary jurisdiction and transfer overcharge cases to DHCR, whose expertise is more suited to deal with issues related to rent regulation and the determination of a regulated rent and possible overcharge.  In direct opposition to another recent decision issued in New York County, Supreme Court in Audubon Tenants Association v. 560-568 Audubon Realty, LLC, 65 Misc.3d 759 [Sup Ct., NY County 2019], the Court here ruled that tenants have always had the choice of forum, and the language of the HSPTA providing that the courts and DHCR “shall have concurrent jurisdiction subject to the tenant’s choice of forum” does not inhibit the Court’s discretion to transfer overcharge cases to DHCR.

Given the conflicting decisions issued by the Court here and in the Audubon case, it seems likely that this issue will require the input of the Appellate Courts.

View Decision

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