Mobilehome park owners in California sometimes believe they are almost the only victims of the price fixing known as rent control. The specter of rent control has, however, also impacted other states in unique ways. For example, in the City of New York, rent control and “rent stabilization” have been in existence in various forms since World War II. Tens of thousands of apartments in New York City are subject to price fixing. A recent article in the Real Property Journal of the New York State Bar Association discusses how the “temporary” fix of rent control enacted during World War II has lasted seventy years. A link to the article discusses the vagaries of rent control and offers thoughts on potential future challenges to government imposed price fixing.
Hart, King & Coldren has incorporated some of the article’s thoughts into selected writ petitions and tort claims against municipalities. There have been no decisive wins or losses on these various theories in California based litigation. However, the very idea that an exigency that is alleged to support the need for rent control is seventy years old is, itself, compelling evidence that there is no exigency. Perhaps the biggest detriment to this argument succeeding in judicial proceedings is the convenient assumption by many in the judiciary that property rights are not “fundamental” and that prices can be regulated and controlled absent an “emergency.” I hope you find the article of interest.