The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to New York’s rent stabilisation law, dealing a blow to landlords seeking relief from state rent controls.
The decision was brought forward by the Rent Stabilisation Association, the Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP), and several individual landlords.
They had petitioned the court in May, arguing that New York’s rent stabilisation law unfairly forced property owners to provide “public assistance” to tenants via low rents and lease renewals.
The landlords argued that the law exacerbates the state’s housing crisis by unfairly placing the responsibility on a minority of property owners, according to The Real Deal.
“One way or another this law must go down. Its current form is destroying New York’s housing,” CHIP Executive Director Jay Martin said.
The landlords cited a 2021 high court decision in Cedar Point Nursery vs Hassid as precedent, where a California law was deemed unconstitutional for requiring employers to permit union organisers onto their property.
Defenders of the New York law countered that landlords knew what they were getting into when they bought properties subject to regulation.
They claim the law’s reform in 2019 doesn’t render it unconstitutional.
In a statement, the Legal Aid Society said, “We welcome this decision, one rooted in the law and long-standing legal precedent.”
The decision puts the onus back on state lawmakers to address the landlords’ concerns, a route considered uncertain at best.
Foreclosure filings are on the rise, and many property owners are grappling with high interest rates and impending loan maturities.
The landlords assert that the law has hindered their ability to carry out essential repairs, removing thousands of units from the market and causing revenues to fall behind expenses.
The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case was not a total surprise, given its history of turning down rent control challenges.
Four votes among the nine justices would have been required to push the case forward.
Other states were also closely watching the case, hoping a ruling would trigger changes to rent control regulations beyond New York.
With this decision, however, it appears any immediate relief for landlords will have to come from state legislators.