The Court reasoned that:
When the rent stabilization regulatory scheme is considered against the backdrop of the crucial role in the lives of New York residents, and the purpose and effect of the program, it is evident that a tenant’s rights under a rent stabilized lease are a local public assistance benefit.
The legislature had concluded that rent stabilization was necessary to preserve affordable housing for low-income, working poor and middle class residents in New York City. The rent stabilization system began in 1969 to ameliorate over time the intractable housing emergency in New York City due to housing shortage which was caused by a continued high demand and decreasing supply. By regulating rents and providing occupants with statutory rights to tenancy renewals under rent stabilization, the State intended to protect dwellers who could not compete in an overheated rental market through not fault of their own. Indeed, the New York City administrative code provided that unless residential rents and evictions continue to be regulated and controlled, disruptive practices and abnormal conditions will produce serious threats to the public health, safety, and general welfare. ( Admin. Code of the City of New York § 26-501)
The rent stabilization law has all the characteristics of a local public assistance benefit. It is local because it depends on periodic determinations by local authorities as to the continuing existence of an emergency in the particular jurisdiction.
The program is public because it was enacted by the New York State legislature and implemented by legislative and administrative bodies at both the state and local level.
If you are interested, the complete decision can be found here: http://www.nycourts.gov/ctapps/Decisions/2014/Nov14/180opn14-Decision.pdf
Christopher Tompkins is a Bankruptcy Attorney that has been handling Chapter 7 Matters for 20 years for Queens and Brooklyn residents in New York City. Contact him at 212 962-5363. Email: AttyBankruptcy@gmail.com. Visit his website at http://www.ny-bankruptcy-lawyer.net/