New York’s rent control regime doesn’t just control rents, it grants tenants a right to renew their leases, and lets them pass on that right to family members—or even long-term roommates. This is not a protection against arbitrary evictions, or a grace period to catch up on unpaid rent, or a right of first refusal. Rather, it is an effective transfer of property from landlords to tenants. Owners cannot even take their property off the market for personal use, as the Panagoulias family realized when they wanted to use one of their own apartments to house their own daughter.
In practice, New York has not stabilized its rental market, it has turned it into a scam—entitling not simply family members but even roommates to transfer leases among themselves indefinitely. The internet is full of how-to guides for getting in on the deal as a tenant, and why not? It’s really an unbeatable deal: the perpetual right to cheap rent in one of the most expensive cities in the world.
The Panagoulias have petitioned the Supreme Court, asking the justices to review their case, and the Liberty Justice Center filed an amicus brief supporting them. LJC’s amicus brief argues that, under long-standing Supreme Court precedent, permanent physical occupations, such as the perpetual leases New York requires, are takings of the Panagoulias’ property, and the Fifth Amendment requires that when the government takes property it must pay property owners like the Panagoulias fair compensation for what has been taken.
We ask that the Court take the Panagoulias’ case and put an end to this racket once and for all.