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Looking Ahead: Housing

The Court may consider whether certain rent stabilization laws are constitutional.

spinner image 2023 Supreme Court Preview HSPTA

One issue that may reach the United States Supreme Court is the constitutionality of various rent stabilization laws that have been passed by states and municipalities in an effort to control housing costs.  

One case making its way to the Court is a challenge to New York City’s rent stabilization law — the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019 (“HSPTA”)—brought by several advocacy groups as well as individual landlords. The suit alleges that the law violates the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. Cmty. Hous. Improvement Program v. N.Y.C., 59 F.4th 540, 547 (2d Cir. 2023). The HSPTA implements several changes to New York’s rent stabilization scheme to regulate rent and more expansively protect tenants. Id. at 546 (specifying protections under the law).

The District Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim that the law violated the Takings Clause. Id. at 548. Plaintiffs then appealed to the Second Circuit, which also upheld the law. Id. at 557. Plaintiffs-Appellants petitioned for Supreme Court review. See Petition for Writ of Certiorari, Cmty. Hous. Improvement Program v. N.Y.C. (2023) (No. 22-1095). That petition is pending. 

If this case reaches the Supreme Court, it has implications not only for the housing stability of low‑income New Yorkers, but also for other state and city housing interventions challenged under the Takings Clause. For example, the Ninth Circuit has affirmed dismissals of similar cases challenging city rent stabilization laws as takings. See Apartment Ass’n of Greater Los Angeles v. City of Beverly Hills, No. 19-55955, 2022 WL 3031318, at *1 (9th Cir. Aug. 1, 2022) (affirming dismissal of takings challenge to the City of Beverly Hills’ rent stabilization ordinance); Chessen, Tr. of 1997 K & M Fam. Tr. Dated 12-11-97 v. City of San Rafael, No. 22-15615, 2023 WL 1879502, at *1 (9th Cir. Feb. 10, 2023) (affirming dismissal of takings challenge to the City of San Rafael’s Mobile Home Rent Stabilization Ordinance). A district court in Minnesota has similarly granted summary judgment to the City of Saint Paul in a case where residential property owners challenged the city’s rent-stabilization ordinance under the Takings Clause. Woodstone Ltd. P’ship v. City of Saint Paul, Minnesota, No. 22-CV-1589 (NEB/DLM), 2023 WL 3586077 (D. Minn. May 22, 2023).

Meryl Grenadier


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