Landlords segregate their amenities for high-paying tenants

In either a residential or commercial real estate context, an attorney might caution against unwritten easements or rights. Although current neighbors might permit certain rights of shared access or use, a new owner might bristle at any such unofficial arrangements. 

However, a recent story suggests that rental property owners in downtown areas might be taking their approach to access rights to the extreme. Specifically, the story profiled several luxury rentals in New York’s Upper West Side where rent-regulated tenants are excluded from certain common areas, even if they’ve lived in the building for years. Such areas might include new gyms, playrooms, rooftop gardens or other amenities. Co-op and condo buildings might also be implementing the new approach. 

Of course, many American cities, including Boston, have rent-controlled apartments and/or low-income developments. In busy downtown areas, such properties might be adjacent to luxury rental or condo buildings. In fact, some developers of high-end buildings might even provide a certain number of affordable rental units in their projects in order to qualify for tax credits.

Although some might regard this exclusion as a form of discrimination or segregation, the property owners may be within their legal rights. However, it would be advisable for such owners to consult with an attorney that focuses on real estate law. An attorney can review the applicable lease documents to ensure that no contractual provisions are being violated. An attorney can also provide counsel on any relevant zoning or land use requirements that might impact this practice.

Source: The New York Times, “What’s Next, a Bouncer?” Ronda Kaysen, May 16, 2014