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Status Quo of the Day: Rent Control in NYC

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case that could have made rent control illegal in New York.


Today, the Supreme Court decided not to hear a case that challenged the constitutionality of New York City's rent regulations. This is undoubtedly a major relief for residents of the city's 1,025,214 rent-regulated units, which represents about half of the city's housing stock.

The case pitted James and Jeanne Harmon, the owners of a five-story brownstone near Central Park, against their tenants.

The Harmons lived on the lower level of their apartment and rented out the top three floors to tenants. Some of the units were subject to the city's rent-stabilization regulations, which means the government sets the maximum permissible rent increases and generally allows tenants to renew their leases indefinitely.

The Harmons said the law meant they were renting units at 60 percent below market rate, and that this amounted to an "unconstitutional taking of their property." The justices, apparently, were not interested.

Below, a chart from NYU's Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy that highlights some key breakdowns of rent-controlled apartments in the U.S.

Photo credit: JustASC/Shutterstock

About the Author

  • Amanda Erickson is a former senior associate editor at CityLab.