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Is America's Primary Affordable Housing Policy Unconstitutional?

Laws forcing developers to include affordable units in their projects are common in the U.S. A new lawsuit argues that they’re also unconstitutional.

On Wednesday, builders in , Pennsylvania, filed a lawsuit against the city over its requirement that some of the new units they construct in mid- and larger-sized housing developments must be rented or sold at substantial discounts.

Last month, the Pittsburgh City Council approved an ordinance requiring that at least 10 percent of units in housing projects of at least 20 units be offered at below-market rates to lower-income homebuyers and tenants in Pittsburgh’s Polish Hill and Bloomfield neighborhoods. Since 2019, the city has imposed identical requirements on development in the city’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.

The complaint—filed by the Builders Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh (BAMP) in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania—says that mandate is an uncompensated taking that violates the U.S. Constitution’s Clause.

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