Rent-stabilized tenants fail in anti–Atlantic Yards bid

The Brooklyn Paper
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A group of rent-stabilized residents in the Atlantic Yards footprint has lost a battle in the war to save their homes.

In a two-paragraph decision, a state appellate court dismissed the tenants’ appeal of a case that argues that developer Forest City Ratner and the state improperly canceled their leases.

But the 13 tenants, who live in two Ratner-owned, rent-stabilized buildings at 473 Dean St. and 634 Pacific St., are holding out hope that the fight could go on; the ruling said the tenants should re-file their case in a different jurisdiction.

Their lawyer, George Locker, said he might do just that, arguing that “Ratner is doing an end-run around the state rent-stabilization laws.”

Under those laws, according to Locker, a landlord who wants to cancel rent-stabilized leases must go through a process overseen by the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal.

But Ratner did not need to go through the time-consuming process, according to the Empire State Development Corporation, which is overseeing the development of Atlantic Yards, because his plan is to transfer the buildings to the state, which will then condemn the property and turn it back over to Ratner.

Locker claims the tactic sped up the removal of his clients from their homes by “at least two years.”

The Locker case is separate from a larger lawsuit that challenges the state’s right to seize property. That case, which was heard in federal appeals court last week, is pending.

Updated 4:33 pm, July 9, 2018
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