Santiago-Monteverde v. Pereira, No. 12-4131 (2d Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Debtor, a New York City tenant, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and listed the value of her apartment lease on Schedule B as personal property exempt from the bankruptcy estate as a "local public assistance benefit." At issue was whether the value inherent in debtor's rent-stabilized lease as a consequence of the protections afforded by New York's Rent Stabilization Code, N.Y. Comp. Code R. & Regs. tit. 9, 2520.1, made the lease, or some portion of its value, exempt from debtor's bankruptcy estate as a "local public assistance benefit" within the meaning of New York Debtor and Creditor Law 282(2). The court certified this unsettled issue to the New York Court of Appeals, which held that a rent‐stabilized lease qualified as a local public assistance benefit. Rejecting the Trustee’s argument that “benefits” should be limited to cash payments, the court noted that the rent‐stabilization program had “all of the characteristics of a local 10 public assistance benefit” under the statute and that an exemption was consistent with the purpose of protecting a debtor’s essential needs, including housing. The Second Circuit then reversed and remanded to allow Debtor to claim the exemption from her bankruptcy estate.
This opinion or order relates to an opinion or order originally issued on March 31, 2014.