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Metlife, Stuyvesant Town tenants agree to settle lawsuit

Insurer MetLife (MET) tentatively reached a deal with tenants of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village in New York to end ongoing litigation over market rents, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.  

MetLife, the former owner of Stuy Town, sold the complex to Tishman Speyer Properties and BlackRock Realty for $5.4 billion in 2006. 

A class of market-rate tenants at Stuy Town sued the insurer, Tishman Speyer and other associated parties claiming MetLife, as the former owner, deregulated market prices on apartments while receiving tax abatements, according to a MetLife SEC filing. 

The tenant lawsuit was filed in an attempt to recover alleged overcharges in rent and damages. 

MetLife said in its SEC filing that it reached a settlement in principle with the tenants, and that the deal awaits final court approval. 

The settlement amount was not disclosed.

MetLife previously tried to get a New York State Court of Appeals to dismiss the case, but that attempt was denied, prompting the recent accord between parties.  

The MetLife suit is not the only battle Stuy Town residents are fighting. 

Sparring companies remained in a battle to pull the property out of default late last year. 

Recently, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association and Brookfield Asset Management reached a deal in which the asset management firm agreed it would acquire the development and turn the community over to tenant ownership. In other words, residents would actually buy their apartments — a development that rent-controlled residents () in recent months. During the same time period, property management firm Guterman Westwood Partners started competing for tenant's attention. 

kpanchuk@housingwire.com

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