Speed Limits and Substantive Due Process
Justice O'Connor Resigned


I don't have time to blog today, but I want to share the facts of a recent rent control case with you.  Bisno v. Santa Monica Rent Control Board.  It aptly demonstrates how the rich use rent control as yet another way to get richer.

Short story: Tenant is paying around one-thousand dollars a month in a rent-controlled unit that would rent for five-thousand dollars in the open market.  When the Rent Control Board raised the rent because the tenant held onto the place even though it wasn't his principle residence, he retained Irell & Manella - a very large, and very expensive law firm - to sue.  (And, hey, who wouldn't hold on to an oceanfront apartment with rent set at less than 20% market.)

People with enough money to retain Irell & Manell don't need rent control.  Of course, it's possible that Irell & Manell took the case pro bono; then again, the Rent Control Board wouldn't have raised his rent if he were destitute. 

I wish I had time to blog this case today, as it aptly demonstrates how people with lots of money milk rent control.  A couple of my neighbors - who make much more than my wife and I - pay 20% less rent than we do because of Santa Monica's rent control laws.  Fresh graduates saddled with student loans also have the rich using us for a free ride.  Later, I'll explain how rent control actually helps the rich exploit the middle-class and poor.