WASHINGTON, April 23 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a constitutional challenge to a New York City rent stabilization law and regulations that control rent increases and evictions for nearly 1 million apartments.
The justices turned down an appeal by a couple, James and Jeanne Harmon, who own and live in a small brownstone building in Manhattan. They claimed three tenants in their building pay government-set rents at 59 percent below market value.
The couple sued in 2008, claiming the rent stabilization law violated their constitutional rights by taking their property without just compensation. They also claimed the law violated the Due Process Clause, the Equal Protection Clause and the Contracts Clause of the U.S. Constitution. Continue reading
Landlord Turns to Supreme Power on Rent
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.
R.S. Radford, the attorney who filed the amicus brief on behalf of the firm, as well as the conservative policy think tank the Cato Institute and the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute, said that Pacific Legal takes on cases that affect the public interest.