Upper West Side landlord hoping to take fight against rent control to Supreme Court
Last Updated: 8:39 AM, March 18, 2012
Will rents like this $55-a-month steal become illegal?
A landlord on the Upper West Side is seeking to take the question before the nation’s highest court, claiming that rent control and stabilization violates his constitutional rights.
James and Jeanne Harmon own a five-story brownstone on West 76th Street near Central Park. Of the six units in the building, three pay 59 percent below market rate, according to the complaint.
One tenant, Nancy Wing Lombardi, pays $951 a month and owns a second home in the Hamptons.
The Harmons lost their suit in state and federal courts, but the US Supreme Court is considering hearing their appeal. The city and the state submitted their response defending the rent system on March 6, and Harmon is expected to submit his response Tuesday. The nine justices in the next two or three months will decide whether they will hear the case.
Source: New York Post
1-BR, $1,000: RENT CONTROL IN COURT TEST
NY REAL ESTATE RESIDENTIAL | March 5, 2012
By JACOB GERSHMAN
At the center of a property dispute that could upend New York City’s rent regulations is an apartment dweller from one of America’s oldest families that has a nearly four-century history of hanging on to valuable homes.
For the past four years, an Upper West Side couple who own a copper-clad, Beaux-Arts brownstone on West 76th Street have been in federal court to overturn the rent regulations shielding their tenants. One of those tenants is Nancy Wing Lombardi, an executive recruiter who pays about $1,000 a month and has lived in her one-bedroom unit since 1976.
Ms. Lombardi’s home is a star exhibit in James and Jeanne Harmon’s federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s rent regulations, which restrict how much landlords can raise rent on about two million New Yorkers.
The couple’s suit has lost in U.S. District Court and the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, but now the U.S. Supreme Court is taking a harder look at their appeal than anyone expected. The justices asked the city and state to respond to the Harmon suit by Monday. Continue reading
Updated 02/21/2012 11:23 PM
Supreme Court Interested In Tenant Case That Could Affect City’s Rent Regulation Laws
Renewing rent protections in New York City is a constant battle in Albany. But a challenge a Supreme Court challenge to the constitutionality of those laws has forced the city and state to respond by March 5.
“I think a lot of people underestimated this case in the first instance, since it was dismissed at the district court and then at the circuit court,” said attorney Matt Brett. “I think this court is a conservative court. I think these issues haven’t been addressed in a long time. There are four justices on this court who are actually from New York City.”
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.
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.