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Does New York’s “rent stabilization” law violate the federal Constitution? The law, which regulates approximately 1 million apartments in New York City, was enacted more than fifty years ago and remains in effect based on an every-three-year declaration of a housing “emergency.” The law does not merely regulate rent levels, it also limits a property owner’s right to determine who uses an apartment, to convert the property to new uses, and to occupy the property for use by the owner and his or her family.
A lawsuit filed last year asserts that the New York law—including 2019 amendments that significantly increased the restrictions on property owners—violates due process and effects both physical and regulatory takings of the property that it regulates. New York City, New York State, and tenant advocacy groups have moved to dismiss the action.
Rent control is not just a New York phenomenon. Other cities across the country have enacted, or are considering, rent regulation legislation. Andrew Pincus, lead counsel for the plaintiffs, and Prof. Richard Epstein, of New York University School of Law, discuss the constitutional challenge in the context of the Supreme Court’s evolving property rights jurisprudence.
— Andrew Pincus, Partner, Mayer Brown LLP
— Prof. Richard Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law and Director, Classical Liberal Institute, New York University School of Law
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