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Monitoring Property & the Built Environment

Melendez v. City of New York

Overview

Melendez v. City of New York (U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, Oct. 28, 2021): The 2nd Circuit upheld a New York City law prohibiting landlords from “threatening” tenants based on COVID-19 status, finding the law did not violate landlords’ Free Speech or Due Process rights. The court found that the term “threatening” was not vague and that the law did not unconstitutionally limit commercial speech because landlords are still able to communicate with tenants regarding past due rent in a routine manner. The court also revived the landlords’ claim that a City law prohibiting enforcement of personal guarantees in certain commercial leases violates the Contracts Clause. The challenged law prohibits a landlord from trying to collect unpaid rent from March 2020 to June 2021 from an individual who personally guaranteed a lease for a business if the business was required to cease or limit operations during the pandemic. That aspect of the case will be sent back to the lower court for trial. Read the decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – November 15, 2021.

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