Bianca Jagger Can’t Get No Rent Control Satisfaction

Beware you jet setting, international, super celebrities.  Your days in your New York rent controlled or stabilized apartments may be numbered.  This is the implication of the Court of Appeals’ decision yesterday in Katz Park Ave. Corp. v Jagger, 2008 NY Slip Op 07987.

The case involved not Mic, but Bianca Jagger.  Ms. Jagger is in the U.S. legally on a B2 tourist visa.  She also has a rent stabilized apartment in Manhattan.  The problem?

Under the Rent Stabilization Code (RSC), a landlord may recover possession of a rent stabilized apartment from a tenant whose lease has expired if the apartment “is not occupied by the tenant . . . as his or her primary residence” (RSC [9 NYCRR] § 2524.4 [c]). But the holder of a B2 tourist visa is required to have a “principal, actual dwelling place” outside the United States. Federal regulations make B2 visas available to aliens who are “visitors for pleasure” of the kind described in section 1101 (a) (15) (B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (see8 CFR § 214.1 [a] [1] [i], [2]). That subsection of the statute applies only to “an alien . . . having a residence in a foreign country which he has no intention of abandoning” (8 USC § 1101 [a] [15] [B]), and “residence” is defined as “principal, actual dwelling place in fact, without regard to intent” (8 USC § 1101 [a] [33]).

Based on this, Ms. Jagger’s landlord claimed that her rent stabilized apartment was not her “primary residence” and sought to remove her from the stabilized apartment.

In affirming the landlord’s motion for summary judgment, the Court of Appeals concluded that, at least absent some unusual circumstance, a primary residence in New York and a B2 visa are logically incompatible. It noted that Ms. Jagger made no attempt to show how she could simultaneously have a principal, actual dwelling place outside the United States and her primary residence in a New York stabilized apartment.

So, Ms. Jagger’s apartment will now be available.  Which international celebrity will be next?

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