Article: Daniel Shaviro, The Mapmaker’s Dilemma in Evaluating High-End Inequality, New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers (2016).
The last thirty years have witnessed rising income and wealth concentration among the top 0.1 percent of the population, leading to intense political debate regarding how, if at all, policymakers should respond. Often, this debate emphasizes the tools of public economics, and in particular optimal income taxation. However, while these tools can help us in evaluating the issues raised by high-end inequality, their extreme reductionism – which, in other settings, often offers significant analytic payoffs – here proves to have serious drawbacks. This paper addresses what we do and don’t learn from the optimal income tax literature regarding high-end inequality, and what other inputs might be needed to help one evaluate the relevant issues.
Article: Iris J. Goodwin, Access to Justice: What to Do About the Law of Wills, 5 Wisc. L. Rev. 947 (2016).
New Article: Paula A. Franzese, Abott Gorin & David J. Guzik, The Implied Warranty of Habitability Lives: Making Real the Promise of Landlord Tenant Reform, 69 Rutgers L. Rev. 1 (2017). Abstract below:
The implied warranty of habitability is an implicit promise that every residential landlord makes to provide tenant with premises suitable for basic human dwelling. Tenants can assert breach of the warranty affirmatively, in a suit against landlord for providing substandard housing, but most often assert the breach defensively in the context of landlord’s eviction proceeding against tenant for non-payment of rent. Still, national data suggests that notwithstanding its placement in the firmament of modern landlord-tenant law, few tenants actually assert breach of the implied warranty of habitability, whether affirmatively or defensively. Even in housing markets fraught with substandard rental dwellings, the warranty is underutilized. This Article endeavors to examine that lapse in the context of nonpayment of rent proceedings initiated by landlords in Essex County, New Jersey. Significantly, of the more than 40,000 eviction proceedings brought there in 2014, only 80 tenants asserted breach of the implied warranty of habitability as a defense.
The authors used that field to learn more about the efficacy of the defense and, when raised successfully, its capacity to prompt the remediation of on-site defects. They found that notwithstanding its relative paucity of use, when invoked the implied warranty of habitability can and does work to bring needed repair and improvement to otherwise substandard dwellings. Indeed, in more than half of the cases surveyed the implied warranty of habitability was used successfully to cure housing code violations on leased premises. Moreover, irrespective of whether the defense succeeded or failed the majority of tenants who did assert it stated unequivocally that they would resort to it again if faced with significant on-site infirmities. The warranty deserves an important place in the stock of affirmative actions and defenses available to aggrieved tenants. The considerable challenge is to remove obstacles to its assertion, whether in the form of onerous rent deposit requirements, the absence of centralized databases for courts and rent subsidizing agencies to use when making decisions regarding rent subsidies for substandard premises, the subversive practice of “tenant blacklisting,” the scarcity of effective assistance of counsel or tenants’ lack of awareness of their basic rights.
Blog Post: Rachel Rintelmann, Why I — and Legal Aid — Stand in Solidarity with LSC, Making Justice Real blog (Mar. 17, 2017).
News Article: Jose A. DelReal, Trump administration considers $6 billion cut to HUD budget, Washington Post (Mar. 8, 2017).
New Article: Marc Roark, Under-Propertied Persons, forthcoming Cornell J. L. & Pub. Pol’y. Abstract below:
Property shapes the way we talk about our communities and ourselves. It also, unintentionally, shapes the way we talk about the poor. Within property, the doctrine of waste reinforces notions of autonomy, privacy, and boundary-making for property owners, while leaving those without property searching for other ways to assert these self-defining protections. Likewise, nuisance assists owners’ participation in their communities by dictating when individuals must account for harms their property use causes to neighbors. The law, however, provides few legal remedies for poor persons who are harmed by owners’ sanctioned use of property. Through the language of ownership, property doctrines facilitate special benefits for those with property, while forcing those outside of property to seek other means to assert similar benefits. Owners — landlords of gap rentals, public housing authorities, and cities — often treat their poorest residents as problems to be managed rather than residents deserving autonomy and community. Housing units are destroyed, families are displaced, and homeless are forced further out of sight. The doctrines and rules that encourage these outcomes focus on the improper, the impaired, or the imperfect instead of facilitating discourse about how living environments promote human flourishing for these residents. In this way, our property system’s rules and language create a class of persons who are under-propertied, under-housed, and under-valued.
Posted in Economic Crisis, Employment, housing, Measuring Poverty, Politics, Property, Reports, Taxation, Uncategorized, Urban Issues, Wealthy
News Article: A. Barton Hinkle, We Can Make Housing More Affordable, Reason.com (Oct. 31, 2016).
News Article: Paul Duggan, Life in a 375-square-foot apartment, Washington Post (Oct. 25, 2016).
News Article: Brena Swanson, Housing affordability at the worst level in seven years, HousingWire (Sept. 29, 2016).
[w/ infographic describing possible antidotes]