Yesterday, the state appeals court ruled that developer Tishman Speyer "had wrongfully raised rents and deregulated thousands of apartments after receiving special tax breaks," the NY Times reports.

Tishman Speyer paid $5.4 billion for the development, Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, which includes both rent-stabilized and market-rate apartments. Building owners can raise stabilized units' rents if tenants are making more than $175,000 for two years in a row—which Tishman Speyer did and had always eyed doing to make the purchase profitable —but the court found, per the Post, "that threshold should not apply to Stuyvesant Town because Tishman Speyer, which now owns the complex, received a tax break for having affordable housing." Tishman had been scheduled to receive the tax breaks until 2017.

While tenants' advocates are thrilled—Benjamin Dulchin of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development told the News, "For landlords like Tishman Speyer, whose strategy has been to undermine affordable housing at a rapid rate, this decision brings them back into compliance with the law."—building owners are worried. Rent Stabilization Association's director of government affairs Frank Ricci told Crain's, “This is not just bad for Stuy Town. It is very bad for all New York City real estate," because it affects any landlords who "make significant improvements to their buildings, like upgrading the plumbing or electrical system" and "may qualify for J-51 tax benefits."

Tishman Speyer may now have to pay $200 million back to tenants, if it doesn't appeal or loses an appeal. A forecast about Stuy Town finances earlier this year was grim, because there was only a few months of cash on reserve: "When the reserve is completely eroded, Tishman Speyer... would need to put in more cash or potentially face default on its loans."