Is New York's Rent Control a Taking Under the Fifth Amendment?

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Is New York's Rent Control a Taking Under the Fifth Amendment?

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Mar 15, 2012, 9:08am

Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy provides some analysis on a recent petition to the Supreme Court filed by a New York landlord. The landlord, James D. Harmon Jr., has filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking it to decide whether New York's rent control law qualifies as a taking under the Fifth Amendment. Somin makes some good points regarding this situation that point to it being a taking. Of course, I thought it was obvious that Kelo involved a taking as well, so...

I had to laugh when I read the part in the original article on which Somin is commenting (by Damon Root for Reason) that New York didn't even bother to file a brief in the case until the Supreme Court requested that it do so.

Mar 15, 2012, 9:15am

I don't know much about NYC culture, but maybe the reason that the City did not file a brief was that rent control isn't much of an issue any more? Could it be like the federal Tea Board - it has its interested constituency, so there is not going to be any repeal any time soon - but the population as a whole could care less (unless, of course, you note in the obits that someone living in a rent controlled apartment has died).

Mar 15, 2012, 9:32am

Over half of New York's apartments have some form of rent control in place, so I don't think that the city's failure to initially respond was derived from the lack of an interested constituency. It probably derived from a sense that rent control, which has been in place for almost 70 years in New York, is untouchable.

Of course, there's always the chance that simple human error was the culprit.