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Supreme Court Declines To Hear 2 Challenges To Rent Stabilization Laws

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas signaled a willingness to consider overturning New York's rent stabilization laws.

Opponents of New York's rent stabilization laws saw their two final chances to get the U.S. Supreme Court to consider their legal challenges go up in smoke Tuesday.

The nation's highest court declined to hear two cases brought by individual owners of New York City apartment buildings. The landlords' attorneys claimed the state's 2019 reforms to its rent laws amounted to unconstitutional taking of private property by the government.

The rejection was written by Justice Clarence Thomas, who said that the plaintiffs' complaints only "contain general allegations" about their injuries as a result of the state's 2019 Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act. But Thomas left the door open to future challenges to the law, writing that a future case that more directly addresses the effects of the law should be taken up by the high court.

"The constitutionality of regimes like New York City's is an important and pressing question," Thomas wrote in the order.

The two cases that were rejected, 74 Pinehurst LLC v. New York and 335-7 LLC v. City of New York, were brought by local owners who decried the collapse in value of their properties in the aftermath of rent reforms that prevented landlords from passing on the cost of major renovations to tenants and closed pathways that had allowed owners to remove units from rent stabilization.

The cases were kept on the high court's agenda even after the nine-judge panel declined in October to hear challenges to the rent law from NYC landlord groups Community Housing Improvement Program and the Rent Stabilization Association.

In the aftermath of that decision, CHIP Executive Director Jay Martin vowed to continue pushing for reforms to the HSTPA at the state level, although there has been little movement on the myriad housing issues stakeholders hope Albany will address.

"There will be future challenges," Martin said in a post on X, formerly Twitter. "Thomas made that all but certain. But in the near future the fate of rent-stabilized buildings is in the hands of the state government."