Several groups that represent landlords in New York have sued to block new rent-control measures that were recently signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The new laws limit landlords’ ability to raise rent on rent-controlled apartments, even after their current tenants leave. This limits landlords’ ability to make money on those apartments, which they argue is an unconstitutional deprivation of their property rights.
The two groups involved in the lawsuit, the Community Housing Investment Program (CHIP) and Rent Stabilization Association (RSA), argue that the new laws violate their members’ Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Specifically, they argue it is a violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, which makes it unconstitutional for the government to deprive someone of their property without just compensation; and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states that no one may be deprived of their life, liberty or property without due process of law.
By depriving them of their ability to adjust apartment prices in accordance with the market, they argue, they are deprived of the full value their property would normally earn them, requiring government compensation under the Takings Clause. They also argue that the government’s stated interest of making housing more available to lower-income people doesn’t rationally relate to the new laws, because rent-controlled apartments make market-rate apartments more expensive and discourage landlords from making improvements to their buildings. However, time will tell if the courts agree with the RSA and CHIP’s arguments.
If you have questions regarding your rights as a landlord or tenant, you should seek advice from an attorney experienced in handling landlord/tenant disputes. Contact the skilled New York City landlord-tenant attorneys at the Law Office of Tanya Hobson-Williams. Please contact us online, toll-free (866) 825-1529 or (718) 210-4744 to discuss your rights as a tenant and the solutions available to you.