Beacon and SLF Warn That Nashville “Affordable Housing” Proposal is Illegal

July 28, 2016 11:00AM

NASHVILLE – Today, the Beacon Center of Tennessee and Southeastern Legal Foundation, a national constitutional public interest law firm and policy center, sent a letter to the Metro Nashville Council and Mayor Megan Barry. The letter explains that the proposed “affordable housing” ordinance that passed its first reading in the Council is not only illegal under state law, but is also unconstitutional.

The law requires that a property owner set aside a certain percentage of his or her inventory to sell at below the market value.

This comes after the city of Franklin recently indicated to the Beacon Center that it will repeal its affordable housing mandate. According to the Franklin City Attorney, city officials are currently drafting an ordinance to delete the law from the books. 

Beacon Director of Litigation Braden Boucek explained, “Affordable housing mandates like the one proposed by Nashville force private individuals to bear the cost burden, rather than taxpayers generally, to address the housing question. We applaud the city of Franklin for taking action after Beacon pointed out the legal issues with affordable housing mandates, and we hope the Nashville government will take notice. If this is a problem that needs to be addressed, then governments should address it, not force private parties to bear the whole burden.” 

Boucek went on to note, “This particular housing mandate is unconstitutional and antithetical to the basic idea of fairness. This law is anything but affordable for most of the people involved. It simply forces tenants to pay more to cover the additional costs.” 

Kimberly Hermann, Southeastern Legal Foundation senior counsel, explained, “This proposed ordinance is inconsistent with our principles of economic freedom and limited government. Forcing developers to sell the homes they build at a loss poses very serious legal and constitutional problems. Likewise, ordering homeowners who want to make improvements to their property to pay a fee into a city fund raises additional legal questions about fees and taxes.”

To read the full letter, click here.