Friday, March 16, 2012
Over that Volokh, Ilya Somin follows up on a potentially important takings case that the Supreme Court may decide to hear:
When I first heard about this case, my reaction was that it was probably precluded by the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in Yee v. Escondido, which ruled that a California statute imposing rent control on mobile home parks was not a taking, even though state law allowed tenants to renew the rent-controlled leases indefinitely even against the will of the owners. I am no fan of the Yee decision, but the Court is unlikely to overrule it in the near future.
However, there is a crucial difference between Harmon’s case and Yee. In the latter, the Court emphasized that there was no permanent physical occupation of the owners’ property because “the Mobilehome Residency Law provides that a park owner who wishes to change the use of his land may evict his tenants” so long as he then uses the property for something other than a mobile home park. By contrast, as Root describes, the New York City rent control law does not allow Harmon and other landlords to evict their tenants even if they do wish to use the property for something other than rental housing. Effectively, therefore, this is a government-imposed permanent physical occupation of property.