Welikson & Rosen, P.C., Williston Park (Niles C. Welikson
of counsel), for appellants.
Legal Aid Society, New York (Robert Desir, Judith Goldiner,
Joshua Goldstein and Beth Hofmeister of counsel), and Mayer
Brown LLP, New York (Jason I. Kirschner, Joaquin M. C de
Baca, Mark G. Hanchet, Michael E. Rayfield, Noah Liben and
Kevin C. Kelly of counsel), for respondents.
Zachary W. Carter, Corporation Counsel, New York (Barbara
Graves-Poller, Aaron Bloom and Doris Bernhardt of counsel),
for amicus curiae.
W. Sweeny, Jr. J.P. Sallie Manzanet-Daniels Troy K. Webber
Marcy L. Kahn Peter H. Moulton, JJ.
appeal from the order of the Supreme Court, New York County
(Shlomo Hagler, J.), entered July 7, 2016, which granted
plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction to the
extent of directing defendants to process and respond to
plaintiff Sandra Vaughn-Cooke's application for an
apartment in defendants' housing complex, and denied
defendants' CPLR 3211 motion to dismiss the complaint for
failure to state a claim.
case involves the interplay of several statutes that
constitute "[t]he patchwork of rent control
legislation" at the federal, state and city levels
(Matter of 89 Christopher v Joy, 35 N.Y.2d 213, 220
). The issue before us is whether certain provisions of
the City of New York's Living in Communities (LINC)
Program violates New York State's Urstadt Law. For the
reasons that follow, we hold that defendants correctly
contend that the rider provisions contained in the LINC
leases do violate the Urstadt Law.
begin our analysis by reviewing the relevant portions of the
statutes and regulations applicable to this case.
1971, the State Legislature enacted what is commonly referred
to as the Urstadt Law (L 1971, ch 372, as amended by L 1971,
ch 1012 [Unconsolidated Laws § 8605]). This statute
amended the Local Emergency Housing Rent Control Act (LEHRCA)
and provides, in relevant part:
"[N]o local law or ordinance shall hereafter provide for
the regulation and control of residential rents and eviction
in respect of any housing accommodations which are (1)
presently exempt from such regulation and control or (2)
hereafter decontrolled either by operation of law or by a
city housing rent agency, by order or otherwise. No housing
accommodations presently subject to regulation and control
pursuant to local laws or ordinances adopted or amended under
authority of this subdivision shall hereafter be by local law
or ordinance or by rule or regulation which has not been
theretofore approved by the state commissioner of housing and
community renewal subjected to more stringent or restrictive
provisions of regulation and control than those presently in
"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, ... a city
having a population of one million or more shall not, either
through its local legislative body or otherwise, adopt or
amend local laws or ordinances with respect to the regulation
and control of residential rents and eviction, including but
not limited to provision for the establishment and adjustment
of rents [or] the regulation of evictions...."
"Urstadt Law was intended to check City attempts,
whether by local law or regulation, to expand the set of
buildings subject to rent control or stabilization, and
particularly to do so in the teeth of State enactments aimed
at achieving the opposite effect" (City of New York
v New York State Div. of Hous. & Community Renewal,
97 N.Y.2d 216, 227 ).
March 26, 2008, the New York City Human Rights Law (§
8-101 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York) was
amended by Local Law 10 to ban discrimination by landlords
against tenants based on their lawful source of income,
including Section 8 federal housing vouchers. "Lawful
source of income" is defined to "include income
derived from social security, or any form of federal, state
or local public assistance or housing assistance including
section 8 vouchers" (Administrative Code §
Code § 8-107(5)(a)(1)(a) makes it unlawful "[t]o
refuse to... rent, lease, approve the... or otherwise deny to
or withhold from any persons or group of persons such a
housing accommodation or any interest therein... because of
any lawful source of income of such person or persons."
Furthermore, § 8-107(5)(a)(1)(b) makes it unlawful
"[t]o discriminate against "[any person]... because
of any lawful source of income of such person... in the
terms, conditions, or privileges of the... rental or lease of