Hearing on Low-Income Tenants' Challenge to NYC Rent Guidelines Board for Imposing "A Poor Tax"
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2008
Afua Atta-Mensah, a staff attorney in the Civil Practice's Law Reform Unit, spoke at a rally in Harlem when the lawsuit against the New York City Rent Guidelines Board was announced. Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries (right) also participated in the rally.

New York County Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman heard arguments during a hearing on the low-income tenants' challenge to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board for imposing a poor tax against tenants who have lived in an apartment for more than six years and pay less than $1,000 a month. The case was argued by Afua Atta-Mensah, a staff attorney in the Civil Practice's Law Reform Unit.

The Legal Aid Society and Legal Services of New York filed the lawusit in September, 2008. The law suit charges that the RGB exceeded its statutory authority when, on June 19, it adopted the 2008 Apartment and Loft Law #40, a supplemental adjustment for a new sub-class of housing accommodations. The RGB plan provided for renewal increases of 4.5 and 8.5 percent for one-and two-year renewal increases respectively. It also provided for a supplemental increase applicable to persons who have lived in an apartment for more than six years and pay less than $1,000 in rent. These tenants are to pay increases of no less than $45 or $85 for one-and two-year renewals, which often results in a high percentage increase than what is allowed under this year’s RGB guidelines.