James Harmon, an owner-occupant Manhattan landlord on West 76th Street near Central Park is going all the way to the United States Supreme Court with his claim that New York City’s rent laws constitute a “taking” of his rental property without just compensation, and violate his constitutional rights.
From a NY Times article:
"[Rent control] regulations are meant to support the government’s goal of maintaining affordable housing for its citizens. Instead, Mr. Harmon says, the laws have forced him and his family to shoulder the government’s burden and extend what is essentially “privatized welfare” to rent-stabilized tenants who are paying rent 59 percent below market rates and who have rights of succession to their lodgings in his house.
“Put yourself in our position,” Mr. Harmon, a former federal prosecutor, said of himself and his wife, Jeanne. “Suppose somebody told you, you’ve got an extra bedroom, we’d like to put someone in there for as long as they want to stay, and you have to take care of them for the rest of their lives and the rest of your life. That’s really what this is like.”
The city’s rent regulations have been challenged many times going back decades, making this case an uphill battle. Mr. Harmon has lost twice in lower courts, most recently in September, when the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, ruled that the rent-stabilization law did not constitute a “taking” because it did not stop him from using the building as a rental property and did not stop him from living there himself.
“Courts usually pay scant attention to these well-settled claims and routinely reject them,” said Jarred Kassenoff, a lawyer for landlords and tenants.
But Mr. Harmon appears to have caught the attention of the high court, which has asked the city and state to file answers by Jan. 4 to his petition to be heard. The case could have wide repercussions for the almost one million rent-stabilized apartments in the city."
MP: There's certainly no economic, ethical or moral basis for rent control or rent-stabilization laws in NYC or elsewhere, it's all motivated by the same outdated and discredited political obsession with "affordable housing" that caused the housing bubble and financial crisis. Good luck to Mr. Harmon in his attempt to restore the same sane, market-based pricing to NYC's rental housing that currently prevails for the city's hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, grocery stores, department stores, gas stations, etc. In the same way that market pricing eliminates shortages of hotel rooms, food, coffee, clothing, and gasoline in Manhattan, market-based pricing for rental housing would just as effectively eliminate the shortage of rental housing.
HT: Andy Weintraub