71-year-old Walter Goldsmith claims in a state lawsuit filed late Tuesday that landlords have ignored a decades-old law that requires them to give tenants 62 and older and those with disabilities the option to stay-on as renters in their apartments rather than move away or buy themselves.
“It’s fair to say these people are entitled to some stability and harmony in their lives,” said Goldsmith, who for the past 10 years has lived in a cozy one-bedroom in a 31-story building on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Marc Held, the attorney bringing the lawsuit with Goldsmith, said at least a quarter of the building’s renters are either elderly or disabled, including at least one blind tenant.
“These are apartments that are triple in value vacant what they are with a rent-regulated tenant in there,” he said. “There’s a tremendous financial incentive not to comply with the law.”
It’s an interesting case, particularly because it’s looking for class-action status and $100 million in damages. People see things differently and have different motivations for what they do.
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Lawsuit: NYC landlords pushing out seniors, disabled