New York Attorney General Letitia James today released the following statement after submitting a response brief in a case defending New York’s rent stabilization laws against baseless challenges to its constitutionality:
“New York’s rent stabilization laws exist to protect tenants and their families, and to ensure that affordable housing remains available for lower-income New Yorkers. As our state's residents continue to recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 public health crisis, my office will continue to do everything it can to defend New York’s rent laws and protect struggling tenants so that they can stay in their homes. Above all else, my office is committed to sheltering New Yorkers from harm and ensuring that everyone continues to have access to safe, affordable housing.”
In 2019, the New York state legislature amended the state’s rent stabilization laws when it enacted the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act (HSTPA). Among other things, the HSTPA was designed to strengthen tenant protections and curb practices that property owners had been using to rapidly raise rents, force tenants out of regulated units, and remove regulated units from the rent stabilization laws’ coverage — significantly diminishing New York City’s stock of affordable housing. Following the HSTPA’s enactment, a lawsuit was filed against the commissioner of the state’s Division of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR) and others. Attorney General James successfully defended the commissioner in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, which held the latest iteration of the rent stabilization laws to be constitutional. The plaintiffs then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. This brief was filed in that court.