After a whirlwind summer that included an historic legal challenge to the State rent laws, RSA hosted a breakfast for all dues-paid members to discuss the lawsuit in detail.
On September 16th, over 450 RSA and Community Housing Improvement Program (CHIP) members joined RSA and CHIP staff at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan to listen to a presentation by Andrew Pincus, Esq., of Mayer Brown LLP, the law firm spearheading the legal challenge to the rent laws.
RSA, CHIP and Mayer Brown have been quietly preparing this lawsuit for over three years. However, the timing could not have been better after the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (HSTPA) of 2019 was passed just three months ago.
Opening remarks to the program were made by RSA Chairman Aaron Sirulnick and CHIP Executive Director Jay Martin. Andrew Pincus then followed by providing the background of how the lawsuit came into fruition and how the 120-page complaint sets forth three violations of the United States Constitution.
1. The RSL violates the Federal Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of Due Process
- Does not target its relief to low-income families
- No financial qualification standard for retaining or obtaining a rent stabilized unit
- Units are either obtained through good fortune or prior relationships, often by people who can afford market rents
- Does nothing to decrease New York’s housing shortage or promote diversity; in fact, decreases housing availability and increases market rents
2. The RSL effects a physical taking of the property subject to rent stabilization regulation in violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
- Deprives property owners of their core rights to exclude others from the property
- That government-mandated indefinite occupation of rental properties by tenants and their “successors” violates the Federal Constitution
- Property owners now must obtain purchase agreements from 51% of tenants – effectively giving tenants the power to decide whether the owner can dispose of the property through a condo conversion
- Onerous restrictions on owners’ ability to occupy their own property
3. The rent stabilization laws are an uncompensated regulatory taking of private property, violating the Constitution’s Taking Clause
- The RSL has a significant adverse economic effect on property values
- Unregulated properties have a significantly greater value than regulated properties
- Law prevents recovery of funds invested for renovation/capital improvements
- New York courts have defined the RSL as a public benefit funded entirely by property owners
- Law provides no benefits to owners of regulated units to compensate for the burdens imposed by rent regulation
Mr. Pincus explained that although the road ahead will be a long and difficult one, the team is confident in a path to victory through the United States Supreme Court. Before the program concluded, Mr. Pincus fielded dozens of questions from the audience, who ultimately left the event feeling confident in this historical legal challenge. Please see the message from RSA Chairman Aaron Sirulnick on page 1 to learn more about how you can get involved.
For updates with regard to the lawsuit, please stay tuned to upcoming issues of the RSA Reporter, as well as RSA’s Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also look for updates and read the full complaint at www.unlawfulrentregs.com.