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United States Supreme Court declines to hear challenges to New York City's rent stabilization law

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear challenges to N.Y. rent stabilization law
U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear challenges to N.Y. rent stabilization law 02:47

NEW YORK -- New York City's rent stabilization law is here to stay, for now, after the United States Supreme Court declined to hear two challenges from local landlords.

Rent-stabilized apartments make up about 40% of all rentals in the city. The regulations cap how much a landlord can charge for rent and how much they can raise the rents each year.

But a group of landlords tried to argue to the Supreme Court that these laws violate their property rights.

Max Ryan, a writer and actor, is going on his 27th year in his Hell's Kitchen apartment.

"I don't make a ton of money. My income goes up and down," he said.

His is among the more than 1 million rent-stabilized homes in New York City.

"How important is it for you to have a rent-stabilized place?" CBS New York's Ali Bauman asked.

"Huge. I couldn't live in this city if I didn't. I could not do it," Ryan said.

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Ryan's grateful for the Supreme Court's decision Tuesday not to hear cases brought by Big Apple landlords arguing to overturn the city's rent stabilization laws.

"We've had 70 years of rent regulation in New York City. It doesn't work," said Frank Ricci, vice president of the Rent Stabilization Association.

The association represents 25,000 landlords owning most of New York's rent-stabilized units.

Ricci says as the law stands, owners are not getting a return on their investments.

"These are big mechanical structural systems that need constant maintenance, constant care, but you can't do that based on thin air. You need money to pay contractors to do these things," he said.

New York's rent stabilization laws were enacted in 1969 and recently strengthened in 2019.

"This law made it very, very difficult ... for them to ever deregulate a rent-regulated unit, and I think that is really when the effort to challenge that law, and just the rent stabilization laws in general, picked up steam," said Eddie Small, a real estate reporter for Crain's New York.

Landlords argued in their appeal to the Supreme Court that the laws prevent them from evicting tenants after their leases expired.

"There are so many creative people around here -- writers and actors and dancers -- that live day-to-day and week-to-week, and it's like, the more that we have rent-stabilized, the more those kind of people can have a roof over their head," Ryan said.

In a statement, Gov. Kathy Hochul expressed relief for the court's decision, saying:

"I am relieved that the Supreme Court has denied petitions for certiorari in three cases that threatened New York's nation-leading rent protections. Our rent stabilization laws, which were first passed nearly six decades ago and reaffirmed consistently by lower courts since, remain some of our state's most powerful tools to fight inequality, preserve affordability, and keep New Yorkers safely housed in their own communities. As Governor, I will continue doing everything in my power to ensure these laws are protected."

In the filing Tuesday, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the landlords' lawsuit had generalized allegations about their circumstances but were not clear enough. He did however leave the door open for future challenges, writing that the Supreme Court should consider questions raised by these landlords in another potential case.

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