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It's a fair assumption that a lot of New Yorkers are feeling really jealous today now that news is making the rounds about two Hudson Yards renters who got a $25 million buyout of their Hell's Kitchen tenement. Unsurprisingly, the pair have since moved onto a luxury building, Riverbank West.
So how on earth did they pull this off? As Crain's reported yesterday, these two lucky (and wily) renters lived in a building on 10th Avenue and 35th Street, in an area that had been purchased by developer Tishman Speyer for $438 million, as part of their $20 billion plan to build up the area surrounding Hudson Yards. While their apartment wasn't rent-stabilized (generally a requirement if you're going to score a buyout) and Tishman actually triumphed in court, their attorney, David Rozenholc, is so notorious for stalling cases in the court of appeals that it appears the developer decided to throw money at the problem to free up the building for development.
Unsurprisingly, this kind of dogged representation will cost you: The lawyer's fee added up to a third of the total buyout amount, according to Crain's. "He’s the most feared tenant attorney with respect to development sites, I don’t think he has ever lost a case," developer Ben Shaoul told the site.
Even if you don't have the city's most feared attorney at your disposal, if you're in a stabilized apartment and a developer (or the landlord) wants you out, you are likely entitled to a large buyout. Prices vary wildly (we've got examples here ranging from $15,000 to $1 million) and can vary depending on factors like your age (if you're young and likely to stick around, the buyout price goes up), and location (the more in-demand, the better). "Tenants are almost always looking at seven figure settlements," as tenants' rights attorney Sam Himmelstein has written for us previously. If your landlord or a developer is trying to get you out, first, make sure they've filed properly (more tips on that here), then band together with your neighbors (the better to up the price of your potential buyout). And whatever you do, don't move out until you've got cash in hand.