New York's highest court has ruled that owners of one of New York City's largest apartment complexes improperly raised rents on thousands of units removed from the city's rent-regulation program.

The Court of Appeals decision was another big setback to owners of the Peter Cooper Village and Stuyvesant Town complex on Manhattan's east side. It also sent shock waves through the city's real-estate industry on fears the ruling could open the door to hundreds of millions of dollars in rent rebates.

New York City's rental market is one of the world's largest and most lucrative. It is one of the few areas of the country where rents on tens of thousands of units are set by the government through laws -- put in place because of tight housing conditions -- that are praised by tenants and reviled by landlords.

Wall Street Journal