Rent Control Challenged as an Illegal Taking of Property
Jared Brey interrogates the legal case presented by landlords in New York in a lawsuit designed to overturn the state's new rent control law.
Here's the gist of the legal argument made by the plaintiffs:
In July, a group of landlords and landlord associations filed the suit [pdf], naming the City of New York and the Rent Guidelines Board as defendants. It’s a long complaint, well over 100 pages, and it attacks the rent stabilization laws from a number of angles. The arguments are aimed at the rent stabilization program as a whole, rather than just the expansions that were recently approved by the legislature. The laws violate due process, they argue. And, they say, by so severely restricting their use of the apartments, the laws amount to a “taking” of landlords’ property under the 5th Amendment.
The takings argument turns on two concepts. One is that the laws are so onerous that they amount to a “physical taking” of private property by the government — like eminent domain but without any compensation. The other is that they add up to an “uncompensated regulatory taking,” because restricting the amount of rent that landlords can charge lowers the value of the property.
Brey speaks to trio of legal experts for insight about the potential for those arguments to prevail in court, encountering mostly skepticism. There is some agreement, however, that expanded rent control could lower the resale value of multi-family buildings.