Why Rent Control Is Still a Regulatory Taking


The Supreme Court has repeatedly declared that land-use regulations that fail to substantially advance legitimate state interests violate the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. This standard seems readily applicable to rent control, a policy that has been shown to exacerbate the problems is intended to remedy, and to impose social heavy costs that would not otherwise exist. Nevertheless, the California Supreme Court has declared that it will not strike down rent control under the substantial advancement standard, nor will it apply a heightened level of scrutiny to such regulations.

In response to these rulings, California rental property owners have taken their constitutional claims to federal court. In a series of decisions culminating in Cashman v. City of Cotati, the Ninth Circuit has found rent control laws to violate the Takings Clause under a substantial advancement standard. One of these cases, Lingle v. Chevron, USA, was accepted for review by the United States Supreme Court in October, 2004. The outcome of this case will have major ramifications for rent control and regulatory takings law in the 21st century.


Property Law and Real Estate

Date of this Version

March 2005