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NYC Landlords Lose Bid To Overturn Rent Laws In Court

The vacancy rate in Manhattan hit another high last month.

A group of landlords claiming laws strengthening rent regulations in New York were unconstitutional have had their case dismissed.

Five landlords took the matter to Manhattan federal court, arguing 2019’s Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act stopped them from making a profit from their property, operating units how they choose and from leaving the industry if they wanted. But District Judge Edgardo Ramos found the landlords have no constitutional right to an unregulated industry, and while he accepted the new law had dealt a big economic blow to the owners, it did not violate the constitution, the New York Daily News reports.

“Loss of profit alone” is not akin to a regulatory taking of their property, he wrote in his decision. He also noted that landlords “have no constitutional right to an unregulated market.”

The rent reform laws drastically curtailed how landlords can raise rents on stabilized units or move them out of regulation. The real estate industry had railed against the new rules, saying they would mean housing will fall into disrepair and worsen the affordability crisis. Housing and tenant advocates hailed the laws as a victory for housing affordability.

The suit — the fifth from landlords in the last two years — was brought forward by owners of both stabilized and market-rate units.

Ramos noted that they had “knowingly entered a highly regulated industry” and that they couldn’t argue “the 2019 Amendments interfered with their reasonable investment-backed expectations. Rent regulation has existed in some form in the city for over 70 years, and rent stabilization in particular has existed for over 50 years.”