Rent Control Confronts the Constitution

By: Michael M. Berger
– Daily Journal

In his latest Daily Journal column, Manatt Appellate Senior Counsel Michael Berger examined New York City’s rent control laws, including recent challenges and the possibility of the U.S. Supreme Court’s first potential review of the laws in over a century.  

In the article, Berger discussed New York’s Rent Stabilization Law (RSL), its origins as a temporary measure to address a housing crisis and how several recent cases demonstrate that it could be interpreted as a form of physical or regulatory taking. “The RSL constitutes a physical taking because, once a lease is entered into, the landlord is locked in to it indefinitely, regardless of the term set in the lease… It constitutes a regulatory taking because the rent levels are set based not (as the market would have it) on reasonable costs plus a reasonable return on capital, but on the tenant’s ability to pay,” he said. Berger added that although the Supreme Court has rejected opportunities to review New York’s rent control in the past, the presence of several new independent cases raising similar issues may be enough to get the Court’s attention.  

Daily Journal subscribers can read the full article here



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