Supremes will not rule on Constitutionality of NYC Rent Stabilization Law

NYC landlords will not be  metaphorically Riverdancing down Fifth Avenue in celebration  of the first serious legal challenge to rent regulations in decades because the Supreme Court  announced on April 23rd that it will not be hearing the case.

U.S. Supreme Court At Night

“We still believe that the Constitution does not allow the government to force us to take strangers into our home at our expense for life. Even our grandchildren have been barred from living with us. That is not our America.”– James Harmon, Upper West Side landlord and former prosecutor,  who filed the case

The Wall Street Journal,  supportive of the case, wrote that  “one of Harmon’s  tenants owns a near shore home in Southhampton and spends her weekends gardening and playing tennis.”  Horrors! She gardens and plays tennis. (Her home is worth $330,00, not millions).

Note to Mr. Harmon and his fans: If you’re going to play the Constitutional /Founding Fathers card, remember that Thomas Jefferson also wrote these words which I suspect were intended to include NYC regulated tenants as well as landlords: “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”. –Opinion, Landlordrocknyc

From theNew York Law Journal April 24, 2012

The case, Harmon v. Kimmel, 11-496, was filed against the city in 2008 by James Harmon and his wife, Jeanne. The couple owns an Upper West Side brownstone with six apartments, of which three are rent stabilized. The Harmons argued that the 1969 rent-stabilization law, intended to respond to a housing shortage, was an unconstitutional taking of their property.

Southern District Judge Barbara Jones (See Profile) dismissed the case in February 2010, and Judges Amalya Kearse (See Profile), Robert Sack (See Profile) and Robert Katzmann (See Profile) of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the dismissal in March 2011. The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear an appeal marks the end of the case.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court will allow the existing court rulings dismissing this case to stand,” Alan Krams, senior counsel in the Appeals Division of the Corporation Counsel’s office, said in a press release. “Rent regulation in New York City has a long history, and the Court properly left it to elected state and city officials to decide its future.”

James Harmon said in an e-mail that the Harmon family was disappointed in the court’s denial of cert. “We still believe that the Constitution does not allow the government to force us to take strangers into our home at our expense for life. Even our grandchildren have been barred from living with us. That is not our America.”

“We are deeply disappointed that the United States Supreme Court did not accept what we believe to be relevant and legitimate property rights concerns of all New York City rent-regulated property owners, who have endured 70 years of rent regulation in one form or another,” Joseph Strasburg, president of the Rent Stabilization Association, which filed an amicus brief on the Harmons’ side, said in a press release.

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