Your $700-a-month 1BR is safe: Supreme Court won’t hear rent stabilization case

The Harmons' townhouse at 32 West 76th St.

An Upper West Side couple who owns and rents a townhouse had their request denied by the Supreme Court to hear their case over NYC’s rent-stabilization law.

James and Jeanne Harmon are fighting against the law in an effort to end subsidized rent for tenants who they believe can afford a higher rent. According to the Daily News, three of the six rental apartments in their West 76th St. townhouse are rented out for 59 percent lower than market value. Some of their tenants pay less than $1,000 per month.

James Harmon, who inherited the building in 1994, argued that the rent-stabilization law could be unconstitutional.

“The issue is whether the Constitution allows the government to force someone to take strangers into their home and to subsidize them for the rest of their lives,” Harmon told the Daily News in December. “My family has carried the burden of this for 40 years and enough is enough.”

Harmon specifically cited his tenant, Nancy Wing Lombardi, who pays $1,000 per month for the apartment she rents from him, but also manages to pays $1,500 each month for a Southhampton home.

Apparently, though, the case didn’t have the meat to be heard by the Supreme Court. The Rent Reform Campaign issued a statement in response to the decision, in part saying:

From the beginning, this misguided case was based in a flawed legal interpretation of the Constitution, yet still represented a very real threat to New York’s ability to continue to maintain viable working and middle class housing in a city often defined by wealth.

(via Gothamist)


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