The state Attorney General's office says nearly 200 city landlords are illegally charging tenants market-rate rents on units for which they received significant tax breaks, which is news that is far less surprising than it should be.

Indeed, according to a release sent out yesterday, about 2,400 units in NYC have not been afforded the rent-regulated leases they are entitled to under the state's 421-a property tax exemption program—the majority of these units are located in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Astoria, though the AG's office notes that the violations are spread citywide. Initially, these units were designed to be condos, thus exempting them from the rent-regulation requirement—when the economy slumped in 2008, the apartments were rented out at market rate.

The AG's office has sent notices [pdf] to 194 landlords warning legal action if they fail to register these units as rent-regulated. "We will not tolerate landlords who break the law and deny their tenants rent-regulated leases, plain and simple," Governor Cuomo said in a statement yesterday. "Owners who are not currently in compliance should get their act together immediately or face the real possibility of having the TPU freeze rents, pursue overcharges and seek damages.”

In June, the Governor's office extended the 421-a program for the next four years, as part of a rent reform package Cuomo called "the best...in history." But this "best" package failed to provide renters with a number of important protections—you can read more criticism of the Albany deal here.