Supreme Court May Take On Rent Regulations As City Council Wants More Say Over RGB

04/16/2012 09:34 PM
By: Zack Fink

As the U.S. Supreme Court put off a decision on whether or not to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of the city’s rent regulation laws, some city legislative leaders demanded more say over appointments to the city Rent Guidelines Board. NY1’s Zack Fink filed the following report.

While the U.S. Supreme Court did not agree to hear the case, a process known as granting certiorari or “cert,” it did not deny the petition either.

That leaves the door open for the high to court to consider its first New York city rent regulation case since the 1920s.

“I don’t think there is much to read into it. I think the court obviously has a very large docket. They looked at hundreds of cases this past week, they granted cert in one case. They denied cert in many other cases,” said attorney Mathew Brett.

The case stems from a rent-regulated brownstone on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The owner, Jim Harmon, who declined to be interviewed by NY1, is trying to evict at least one of his three-rent regulated tenants to use for a family member. One of those tenants owns a house in the Hamptons.

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Cato Institute Explains its Support of Harmon Lawsuit

Will The Supreme Court End New York’s Rent Control Laws?

by Reason TV
Posted Jan 20th 2012 

“If you wanted to destroy a city’s housing – short of bombing – the best way to do it is rent control,” says Cato legal associate Trevor Burrus.

While most cities in America long ago got rid of rent control, New York remains a bastion of government-mandated limits on what landlords can charge renters. About 50 percent of New York’s rental market is affected by rent control or rent stabilization, policies that keep rents artificially low and produce housing shortages, higher overall housing costs, and all sorts of corruption.

The court case Harmon v. Kimmel may finally bring an end to rent control laws that have been on the books in one form or another since the 1940s. James D. Harmon owns a building in Manhattan where the tenants are paying rents that are about 60 percent below the going market rate. After losing various legal battles at lower levels, Harmon has petitioned the Supreme Court to hear his argument that rent stabilization is a form of takings that should be prohibited under the Constitution. The Court has not yet announced whether it will hear the case but has asked the state and city of New York to respond to Harmon’s argument.

Cato’s Burrus wrote a friend of the court brief on the case and explains why rent control and rent stabilization are bad at promoting affordable housing and abridgments of economic freedom.
Shot and edited by Joshua Swain.
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Source: Big Government /