|Even dropped from the Empire State Building, it can’t kill anyone|
|Destined to have his name in the law books? James Harmon|
High Court Not Likely to Hear Rent Law Challenge, Experts Say
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.
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.
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.