Supreme Court Just Might Upset Rent Controls in
New York City
|WRITTEN BY BOB ADELMANN|
|MONDAY, 26 DECEMBER 2011 22:30|
When R.S. Radford, a principal attorney for the public interest law firm Pacific Legal Foundation, learned about the ruling against a property owner suffering under New York City’s rent control laws, he appealed the case to the Supreme Court. At issue in the case, Harmon v. Markus, is whether James and Jeanne Harmon, the owners of a handsome brownstone near Central Park, are entitled to relief from the city’s onerous rent control laws that force them to accept lower-than-market rents from three of their renters.
|High Court Has Apparent Interest in Challenge to Rent Stabilization
by Samuel Newhouse, published online 12-21-2011
This month, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered that the city file response papers by Jan. 4 to the petition of James Harmon, 68, and his wife, the owners of a five-story brownstone on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
Having lost his case at both the trial court and the Circuit Court, the city waived its right to file opposition papers to Harmon’s petition to the nation’s high court, presumably confident that the Supreme Court would deny cert and dismiss Harmon’s petition. However, one of the nine justices (it is unknown which) has told the city to file response papers, indicating an apparent interest in the case.
By J.P. FREIRE on 12.21.11 @ 1:49PM
A challenge to New York City’s onerous rent control laws hasbeen granted cert by the Supreme Court according to the New York Times. The plaintiff, James Harmon, aformer lawyer in the Reagan adminisration and an alumnus of WestPoint, inherited the house from his grandparents, who worked longhours as a governess and a waiter to afford the home. Harmon arguesthat the rent stablization laws amount to the government taking hisproperty without properly compensating him for it.
Harmon has taken to the Supreme Court because the lower courts,and even his assemblywoman, Linda B. Rosenthal, are fine with thecurrent regime. Rosenthal herself is quoted in the Timessounding a bit like an Occupy Wall Street devotee:
Ms. Rosenthal said Mr. Harmon had asked for an exception to rentregulations for his building, which she found untenable because itwould, she said, extend to thousands of other people in “thevanishing middle class.”
“I understand he thinks he could make more money, that he isbeing deprived,” she said. “But I have so many constituents whowould willingly trade his problems for theirs.”
As for luck, she said, Mr. Harmon was “lucky enough to inherit atown house.”
She said her views had nothing to do with the fact that shelives in a rent-regulated apartment, though she added, “If Ididn’t, I probably wouldn’t be representing tenants in thisdistrict because I couldn’t afford to live in the city.”
A Landlord’s Uphill Fight to Ease Rent Restrictions
By ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS
Published: December 19, 2011
Kirsten Luce for The New York Times
Jeanne Harmon and James D. Harmon Jr., above at their town house in Manhattan, are challenging a rent-stabilization law.
Upper West Side landlord James Harmon is tired of his rent stabilized tenants paying well below market rate for the apartments in the five-story West 76th Street brownstone he inherited, so he’s turned to the U.S. Supreme Court to relieve him—and the rest of the state—of rent regulations. Harmon filed a lawsuit against the chair of the Rent Guidelines Board, Jonathan Kimmel, and the commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, Darryl Towns, alleging that the rent regulations violate his Fifth Amendment right to receive compensation from the state for what he says is the taking of his property. When the court ruled that there was no taking of property, Harmon appealed on the basis of the 14th Amendment, claiming that he had been denied the right to due process. That’s what caught the attention of a law firm in California, Pacific Legal Foundation, which has jumped in in support of Harmon’s case to ask the Supreme Court to hear his appeal.
Manhattan attorney Jim Harmon has asked the high court to decide whether rent-stabilization regulations, as applied to his five-story brownstone on the upper West Side, are so severe as to amount to an unconstitutional taking of his property.