November 30, 2011 RS Radford, Pacific Legal Foundation
Of all the failed policies of Progressive-era politics, none is more egregious than rent control. And nowhere is the failure of rent control more obvious than in New York City, where high-salaried professionals and rock stars often enjoy a legal “entitlement” to pay rent amounting to a tiny fraction of the value of their apartments.
Originally conceived as class legislation, rent control in New York no longer even pits the haves against the have-nots. It rewards the politically savvy, the well-connected, and the lucky, at the expense of both large and small property owners who make the mistake of providing housing to those who need a place to live. New York courts have long turned a blind eye to the economic insanity and blatant injustice of rent control, reasoning that it’s within the purview of the legislature to enact insane and unjust policies, so long as due process is followed.
In our amicus brief, we argue that the court below incorrectly relied on Yee v. City of Escondido in dismissing the Harmons’ “physical takings” claim because the New York City Rent Stabilization Law compels an owner of rent-stabilized apartments to submit to a non-consensual permanent physical occupation of the rent-stabilized apartment units, because the decision in Yee was limited to the “unusual economic relationship between mobile home park owners and mobile home owners” which does not exist in the case of rent-stabilized apartments, and because the economic relationship between rent-stabilized tenants and owners of rent-stabilized buildings presents the “different case” contemplated in Yee.