Supreme Court Decides At Least Some NYC Apartments Will Remain Affordable

For more than 40 years, finding a rent-stabilized apartment in New York City has been like winning the lottery. Earlier this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court shot down a challenge to the rent-stabilization regulations, meaning at least a million city residents will continue to pay rent that is only a fraction of what their neighbors pay

The challenge had been brought by lawyers for a Manhattan couple who claimed that their constitutional rights were being violated by rent-stabilization rules that capped the rents on three apartment units they rented out.

At $1,000/month, the tenants in those one-bedroom units are only paying half of what other renters in the same building are being charged.

“The Constitution gives us the right to decide who will live in our own home and under what terms,” one of the landlords said.

While some opponents of rent-stabilized apartments have said that landlords are being taken advantage of by tenants who can afford the market value for their rent but who are benefiting from an outdated regulation.

However, Bloomberg News reports that the median income for tenants in rent-stabilized pads was $37,000 in 2011, with only about 4% of those tenants earning $150,000 or more. Meanwhile, the average rent for an unregulated apartment in Manhattan is currently over the $3,000/month mark.

We do have to wonder if the city and census numbers on median income for rent-stabilized tenants includes all those people whose names are on the lease but who actually sublet for significantly more money than what they pay to the landlord.

The plaintiffs in the case had appealed to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court panel in New York state issued a unanimous ruling to reject the lawsuit.

New York City Rent Limits Left Intact by Supreme Court [Bloomberg]