On June 27, 2023, Tompkins County Supreme Court Justice Masler struck down as unconstitutional the 2019 amendment to the Landlord Tenant law (which compelled participation by landlords statewide in the voluntary federal section 8 program). This is a victory for the rights of small business owners and the civil liberties of every citizen. Ithaca Renting Company (IRC) is thankful that the Court studiously considered our arguments and found that they were correct.
The Constitution protects everyone’s rights to be free from unreasonable government interference under the 4thAmendment of the US Constitution and the New York Constitution– regardless of whether you are a tenant or property owner.
Participation in Section 8 requires both tenants and landlords to give up their rights to be free of unwarranted searches by the government. Tenants must waive their rights against government intrusion into their home, and landlords must waive their rights against intrusion into all their business – properties and books and records, when they participate in Section 8.
As we said when the Attorney General filed this lawsuit just before election day, her lawsuit flew in the face of longstanding case law at both the state and federal levels and it was a glaring example of improper governmental overreach.
Neither the NY Legislature nor the NYS Attorney General have the power to compel citizens to give up their constitutional rights in order to work or live in this state.
This decision demonstrates that our country still operates under a Rule of Law, and the important role our Courts play in protecting everyone’s civil liberties first spelled out in both the US and New York Constitutions.
Click here to read the decision: Decision, Order and Judgment