R&E Voids Illegal 40-Year Rent-Stabilized Lease of Corporate Tenant in Midtown Manhattan

Rosenberg & Estis continues its successful representation of River Tower with a First Department, Appellate Division victory, affirming the trial court’s order voiding an illegal rent-stabilized lease at 420 East 54th Street. On May 16, 2019 the First Department upheld R&E’s arguments and terminated the possessory rights of the corporate tenant, the defendant in this case. In 1991, two corporate entities owned by Harry Macklowe entered into a residential lease for a rent-stabilized apartment located at the River Tower apartment building in Manhattan. The lease provided for a fixed 40-year term that would expire in 2031 and failed to name a person as an occupant of the apartment. River Tower purchased the building in 2016 and, recognizing that the lease was improper, sought counsel from R&E. R&E commenced the action and, prior to discovery, moved for summary judgment. R&E argued the lease violates the Rent Stabilization Code and is void because, among other things, its 40-year term improperly removed the lease from the market for a generation of renters and the lease failed to name a person as an occupant. The First Department affirmed the trial court’s order granting R&E’s motion which voided the lease, terminated corporate tenant’s right to the apartment and awarded landlord a judgment of ejectment.