Charles Sykes reviews the much-praised new Matthew Desmond book “Evicted,” based on observation of poor persons’ housing problems in Milwaukee, which advances the notion of a right to housing and (relevant to our Civil Gideon coverage over the years) a right to free anti-eviction lawyers [Commentary; more on the current full-employment-for-tenant-lawyers push]
He came to stay: “A Telegraph Hill resident who was squabbling with his building co-owners allegedly duped them into renting him their unit by using a false identity on Airbnb, according to a complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court. Then, after two months in the apartment, he claimed he qualified for tenants’ rights and said he planned to stay indefinitely.” [San Francisco Chronicle, earlier in series]
- Under HUD deal, “Dubuque must now actively recruit Section 8 voucher holders from the Chicago area,” 200 miles away [Stanley Kurtz/National Review, Deborah Thornton/Public Interest Institute, July]
- Mandatory rental inspections: Can City Hall demand entrance to a home with no evidence of violations? [Scott Shackford] Nuisance abatement laws: “NYPD Throws People Out of Their Homes Without Ever Proving Criminal Activity” [same]
- Data point on scope of regulation: online marketing of sink faucets “seems targeted at assuring potential purchasers of regulatory and legal compliance,” both ADA and environmental [Ira Stoll]
- Public interest litigators’ “right to shelter” created today’s hellish NYC homeless program [NYT on murder at Harlem shelter, background at Point of Law]
- Flood insurance: “$7.8 Million Fee For Lawyers, 7-Cent Check For One Lucky Class Member” [Daniel Fisher]
- On eminent domain, some lefty lawprofs suddenly turn all skeptical on whether courts can fix injustice [Ilya Somin] Prof. Purdy defends the Kelo v. New London decision, but Prof. Kanner would like to correct a few of his facts;
- “The San Francisco artist who is being kicked out of his apartment after 34 years is a perfect example of why rent control is awful” [Jim Edwards, Business Insider] “Big-City Mayors Think They Can Mandate Their Way to Affordable Housing” [Matt Welch, Reason]
I’ve got a letter to the editor in today’s Washington Post. An excerpt:
The Dec. 11 Metro article “Baltimore eviction rate among highest in nation” reported on advocates’ efforts to change eviction procedures to allow Baltimore tenants to stay longer in rental housing even when they fail to pay their rent. One effect, of course, would be to make it even less attractive to offer and maintain rental properties in the hard-hit city.
Before going farther down such a road, it would help to review failures of existing Maryland housing policies….
And then I talk about Maryland lawmakers’ having enacted various legal changes to slow down foreclosures, and the unpleasant aftermath, a story told here. Why would a state want to go through a very similar wasteful, blight-encouraging exercise for rental property? (cross-posted from Free State Notes)
The insanity — and the 10 to 20 year waits — of housing regulation in the Swedish capital [Alex Tabarrok]
If you rent out one or a couple of living units at your home and are interested in liberty under the U.S. constitution, a non-profit legal group that works to combat government overreach would like to hear from you. At issue are the rights of resident small landlords — specifically, persons who live in a building themselves and rent out a living space or two (but not more than three) on the premises. Without getting too specific about the details, the federal government is asserting a constitutionally dubious power to regulate on certain questions that are of practical importance to many home-based landlords, but aren’t related to hot-button areas like race or sexual orientation.
This isn’t a project connected with the Cato Institute, by the way; I just offered to spread the word because I think these are lawyers who 1) do good work and 2) have identified an important issue. If you’re interested in learning more, email editor – at – overlawyered – dot – com.
“The administration [of Mayor Bill de Blasio] is planning to select and pay four health-advocacy groups $9,000 apiece to pressure landlords and developers to prohibit smoking in their apartment complexes so neighboring tenants don’t inhale secondhand smoke.” [Carl Campanile/New York Post]
- Environmental law’s oft-praised public trust doctrine may have made California drought worse [Gary Libecap, Regulation magazine, via Peter Van Doren, Cato] Blame Nestlé for California water crisis? Well, people can try [Coyote]
- True to “so-called Seattle Process of inclusive and abundant dialogue,” tunnel to replace Alaskan Way viaduct has developed into expensive fiasco [Karen Weise, Bloomberg]
- Jefferson’s method of surveying “abstract and commodifiable” land, well suited to flat Midwest, curbed litigation and greatly advanced American prosperity [Steve Sailer, Chronicles]
- RFK Jr.’s Waterkeeper “tightly intertwined with more than one of the players in [Skelos] investigation” [Scott Waldman, Capital New York]
- High overhead: “what they are doing is pricing people out of the ceiling fan market” [Michael Bastasch, Daily Caller, re: Rep. Marsha Blackburn criticism of energy regulations]
- Didn’t know San Francisco had such a high rate of vacant rentals: “America’s Rent-Controlled Cities Are Its Least Affordable” [Scott Beyer] Craziness of city’s housing policy long predates today’s war against techie newcomers [Coyote]
- “Chimpanzee almost gets habeas corpus — and in any event the Nonhuman Rights Project gets a court hearing” [Volokh, earlier on chimpanzees and rights]
When Horizon, a large Chicago apartment building manager locked in a legal dispute with one of its tenants, chose to sue her over a disparaging tweet a few years back (more), one of the owning family’s members was quoted in the press as saying that “the suit was warranted and that Horizon is ‘a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization,'” a comment for which the company subsequently apologized. You’ll never believe what happened next…