Seawall Associates v. City of New York

74 N.Y.2d 92, 542 N.E.2d 1059 (1989)

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Seawall Associates v. City of New York

New York Court of Appeals
74 N.Y.2d 92, 542 N.E.2d 1059 (1989)

Facts

To reduce homelessness, the City of New York (city) (defendant) passed a law requiring owners of single-room-occupancy (SRO) properties to restore the properties to habitable conditions and lease them at controlled rental rates. The law, which was renewable in five-year increments, also prohibited owners from allowing SRO properties to remain vacant for 30 days or from demolishing, altering, or converting the properties. Owners were not required to rent to homeless individuals. The law provided no compensation for owners who complied; however, violators were punished with heavy fines. Seawall Associates (Seawall) (plaintiff), an owner of SRO properties, challenged the law on the theory that it was a taking of private property without just compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The city argued that the law was a constitutional attempt to reduce homelessness by increasing the availability of inexpensive SRO properties. The trial court concluded that the law was an unconstitutional taking, and the appellate division reversed. Seawall appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hancock, J.)

Dissent (Bellacosa, J.)

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