Mar 11, 2012

Is NYC Rent Regulation Unconstitutional?

32 West 76th Street - Upper West Side

The Supreme court may soon decide if New York state and city rent regulation (rent control/ rent stabilization) laws are constitutional.

An Upper West Side couple who own a Beaux-Arts brownstone on west 76th Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue have been in federal court during the past few years attempting to overturn the rent regulations protecting their tenants. One of those tenants pays about $1,000 a month and has lived in the one-bedroom unit since 1976.

While I support affordable housing for poor and middle class families there are many affordable housing programs in NYC besides rent regulation such as HDFC coops, Mitchell Lama, 80/20 and section 8 vouchers.

Perhaps in the outer boroughs middle and lower income families actually live in rent regulated apartments, but the coveted Manhattan rent stabilized apartments are in some of Manhattan's most sought-after buildings.

Buildings that converted to coops or condos 25 years ago or even recently like The Apthorp under non-evict plans still have rent regulated apartments primarily occupied by wealthy, connected Manhattanites that were fortunate enough to get the apartments 25-30 years ago or inherited them including former mayors, congressman, celebrities, real estate brokers and friends of landlords.

Mayor Bloomberg does not live in Gracie Mansion, he's a billionaire and his own $48 million dollar townhouse is a nicer mansion than Gracie Mansion but when Ed Koch was Mayor he preferred his $300 rent stabilized Greenwich Village apartment over Gracie Mansion. It must be a nice apartment.

Many of these tenants are holding out for huge payments from a developer or coop/condo board to vacate. Many rent regulated tenants have been offered $Millions for their apartments that they don't even own. Many own in The Hamptons and Florida defeating the purpose of affordable housing.

My first NY apartment was stabilized it was also in an upper west side townhouse owned by a couple but I gave it up when I bought a coop more than 20 years ago. I became a home owner while my income was less than half the income threshold for rent stabilized apartments.

According to the Wall Street Journal the Second Circuit Court of Appeals tossed out the couple's suit in March, but they filed petition for certiorari in the Supreme Court, and, the high court has asked New York City and the tenants to respond. Attorney's for New York City and NY the state Attorney General are preparing their arguments to fight the suit.

The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution provides that "no person shall be . . . depriv but they receive no sued of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

Rent control is subsidized housing but not by the city state o9r federal government. It is subsidy mandated by the government that requires property owners to subsidize legally privledged tenant leases in their buildings. The property owner/landlord receives no subsidy or tax credit from the government.

Maybe the United States Supreme Court will end regulation or force the city and state to subsidize the owner/landlords.


1 Response to " Is NYC Rent Regulation Unconstitutional? "
  1. brad said...
    March 29, 2012

    great info. we have always thought this was an issue, but suffice to say we aren't the only ones. $1000 a month since 1976 and no change is absurd. our Apartment for Rent Hoboken pulls in nearly twice that and still doesnt cover what we need it to.


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