Supreme Court Deals a New Blow to Property Rights
By David Holcberg
On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to property rights by upholding a San Francisco law that forces building owners to pay the city a fee when converting rental units into hotel rooms.
The fee, meant to discourage property owners from eliminating rental units for low-income people, is a blatant violation of the owners' property rights. "Property rights" means the right to use and dispose of one's property without interference from others. If building owners want to convert rental units into hotel rooms, or hotel rooms into rental units, they should be free to do so. The use of their property should never be subject to the whims and preferences of legislators. Neither an individual's property nor his life belongs to the community to dispose of as it pleases. And as long as the use of one's property does not infringe upon the legitimate rights of others, no limitations should be imposed on its use.