Apartment Ass’n of Metro. Pittsburgh v. City of Pittsburgh

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the decision of an en banc panel of the Commonwealth Court that struck down a Pittsburgh ordinance, which “proscribed source-of-income discrimination in various housing-related contexts”. The Apartment Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh filed a complaint against the City of Pittsburgh, alleging that the ordinance violated the City’s authority under the home-rule charter (“HRC”) and the Pennsylvania Constitution. The trial court declared the ordinance invalid. An en banc panel of the Commonwealth Court affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed and held that the HRC’s Business Exclusion precluded the ordinance. First, the Court ruled that the ordinance imposed an affirmative burden on businesses. While the ordinance aimed to protect citizens from discrimination, the law “went far beyond that aim by effectively requiring many landlords to participate in the Section 8 program with its collateral obligations”. Then, the Court determined that there was no statutory grant of authority to justify the ordinance’s burden.

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