Ladd v. Real Estate Comm’n

Ladd, who was in her sixties, lived in NJ and managed two rental properties she owned, as well as the rental of some of her neighbors’ properties, located in the Poconos. In January 2017, the Commonwealth’s Bureau of Occupational and Professional Affairs (the Bureau), charged with overseeing the Commission’s enforcement of the Real Estate Licensing and Registration Act (RELRA), notified Ladd she had been reported for the “unlicensed practice of real estate.” Therefore, Ladd sought a declaratory judgment and a permanent injunction. Specifically, Ladd alleged RELRA’s broker requirements and the Bureau’s practices violated her substantive due process rights pursuant to Article I, Section 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution because the requirements and practices imposed unlawful burdens on her right to pursue her chosen occupation. The Commonwealth Court sustained the Commonwealth’s preliminary objections. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court reversed.


Using a rational basis test, the Court concluded that Ladd’s complaint raised a colorable claim that RELRA’s requirements were unconstitutional as applied to her because they were unreasonable, unduly oppressive, and patently beyond the necessities of the case, thus outweighing the government’s legitimate policy objective.

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