housing

Rent Stabilization Isn’t Going to the Supreme Court This Time

Photo: Celal Gunes/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Landlords in New York started their week on a low note: The Supreme Court has declined to hear the challenge to rent stabilization brought by the Community Housing Improvement Program and the Rent Stabilization Association, an anticlimactic conclusion to this particular effort — now four years in the making — to dismantle the state system of rent regulation.

CHIP and RSA’s case was always a long shot, and this isn’t the first time that rent-stabilization has faced a court challenge in its 60-plus year history, but the suit took shape after the 2019 rent laws went into effect. (Two other groups landlords, led by 74 Pinehurst LLC and 335-7 LLC, also have separate petitions before the court and are still waiting on a decision.) CHIP and RSA claimed the new laws only strengthened their position that rent-stabilization violated the Constitution’s “takings clause” by limiting their ability to raise rents and evict tenants. The Second Circuit court disagreed, writing in its decision that “the case law is exceptionally clear that legislatures enjoy broad authority to regulate land use without running afoul of the Fifth Amendment’s bar on physical takings.”

The landlords then brought the challenge to the Supreme Court, claiming they “always expected” the decision to be made by the high court and were confident that, likely because of its conservative majority, they would “ultimately prevail.” In their petition, they wrote that the “easily demonized owners of New York City rental units” were “vastly overwhelmed in New York’s political process” by tenants and taxpayers.

The justices were ultimately unmoved, but CHIP and RSA pledged to keep fighting. “We see the Supreme Court’s decision not to take our case as a signal to bring more targeted challenges to specific provisions of the law illustrating direct impacts on housing providers,” they wrote in a statement. “This is not the end of the road.”

Rent Stabilization Isn’t Going to the Supreme Court