Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can I keep my house if I file bankruptcy?”
New York State’s Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that rent-stabilized leases are a public benefit and therefore cannot be seized as assets of persons who are going through bankruptcy.
Rent-stabilized leases allow millions of tenants in New York City and elsewhere to make rental payments based on their income as opposed to market-based rental prices. In many cases, state or municipal authorities make up the difference, rendering payment to landlords who agree to certain terms and conditions regarding protections for rent-stabilized tenants.
The case in New York arose when an 80-year-old widow named Mary Veronica Santiago filed for bankruptcy after amassing—in relative terms—a small credit card debt. In essence, Mrs. Santiago’s lease was “grandfathered” by a succession of landlords, who allowed her to continue to pay $703 per month to rent the apartment where she has lived for over 50 years.
During that time, the market value of renting the apartment rose as high as three to four-thousand dollars per month. Mrs. Santiago qualified for one of New York’s rent stability programs, and her rental agreement was subject to its terms.