||R. S. Radford
Pacific Legal Foundation
PLF and Wall Street Journal editors will discuss rent control, online today
NEW YORK, N.Y.; April 24, 2012: Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to rent controls in New York City, and today at 5:00 p.m. EDT (2:00 p.m. PDT), PLF Principal Attorney R. S. Radford will join members of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board to discuss the development, online, at www.wsj.com.
||Members of The Wall Street Journal editorial board discuss New York City’s rent control, and the constitutional challenge to the policy, with PLF Principal Attorney R. S. Radford.
||Tuesday, April 24, 2012; 5:00 p.m. EDT, 2:00 p.m. PDT.
||Live online, via The Wall Street Journal Digital Network: www.wsj.com.
Note: Click the "live now Online Journal" link once on wsj.com
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation is the leading legal watchdog for limited government and property rights. R. S. Radford wrote PLF’s amicus brief asking the Supreme Court to accept Harmon v. Kimmel, a suit targeting New York City’s rent stabilization law as a violation of the Fifth Amendment ban on the uncompensated taking of private property.
Yesterday, after the announcement that the justices declined the case, Radford issued this statement:
“The Supreme Court’s announcement is unwelcome news, not just for New York City’s beleaguered landlords, but for all Americans who understand the importance of property rights and the destructive social impact of rent control, wherever it is imposed. Instead of helping the poor or advancing any other legitimate policy goal, New York’s suffocating rent regulations deter the development of rental housing. And many tenants sheltered by rent control are wealthier than the landlords who they’re underpaying. In short, New York’s rent control is government-choreographed confiscation that cries out for Supreme Court review.
“New York City’s so-called rent stabilization rules are aggressively subversive of basic rights and rational public policy. Tenants in rent-stabilized units are allowed to stay for as many years as they like. They can even pass their units along to their heirs. For all intents and purposes, these units have been seized from the owners. The landlord isn’t just robbed of any say in who occupies the unit, but also of any freedom in pricing it. An arbitrary cap on rental rates ensures that they’re far below market.
“Since as far back as the World War II era, New York has always touted rent control as an ‘emergency’ response to housing shortages. But rent controls make things worse, not better. Squeezing landlords actually creates shortages by discouraging people from getting into the rental business. It’s as if the city’s firefighters showed up at a burning house with gasoline instead of water.”
The lawsuit was brought by 68-year-old James D. Harmon, who lives in a five-story brownstone that has been in the possession of his family for 63 years. He holds title, but his “ownership” is undermined by the fact that three of his six apartments are governed by the Rent Stabilization Law, meaning that the city has granted the tenants and their successors a permanent claim on the units. The three have already occupied their apartments for a cumulative period of 90 years. The government-set rates that they pay Mr. Harmon are 59 percent below market.
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Donor-support Pacific Legal Foundation (www.pacificlegal.org) is the leading legal watchdog that litigates for limited government and property rights, in courts across the country.
PLF recently won its sixth precedent-setting victory for liberty and limited government at the U.S. Supreme Court — Sackett v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in which PLF defeated EPA’s attempt to exempt itself from judicial review when it curtails the use of private property by labeling it as “wetlands.”