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WARREN v. PHILADELPHIA (12/29/56)

December 29, 1956

WARREN
v.
PHILADELPHIA, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 131, Jan. T., 1957, from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 5 of Philadelphia County, Dec. T., 1955, No. 7857, in case of John Warren et al. v. City of Philadelphia. Decree affirmed; reargument refused December 29, 1956. Bill in Equity. Before ALESSANDRONI, P.J. Adjudication filed finding rent control ordinance invalid; exceptions to adjudication dismissed and final decree entered. Defendant appealed.

COUNSEL

I. Jerome Stern, Assistant City Solicitor, with him David Berger, City Solicitor, and Levy Anderson, First Deputy City Solicitor, for appellant.

D. Arthur Magaziner, with him Paul Brandeis, Joseph Keough, Simon Lenson, Morris B. Levitt and Sterling, Magaziner, Stern & Levy, for appellees.

Before Stern, C.j., Jones, Bell, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Chidsey

[ 387 Pa. Page 363]

ORDER PER CURIAM, December 10, 1956:

The decree of the court below is affirmed, the parties to bear their respective costs.

Opinion to be filed later.

Opinion BY MR. JUSTICE CHIDSEY, December 29, 1956:

An ordinance known as the "Philadelphia Rent Control Ordinance of 1955" which imposed temporary controls over rents and evictions in rental housing, expired on January 31, 1956. On January 26, 1956 the City Council passed an ordinance approved by the Mayor on January 31, 1956 as an amendment to the rent control ordinance of 1955, extending the imposition of controls to January 31, 1957. Claiming that no emergency existed in housing accommodations at the time of the enactment of the amending ordinance of 1956 justifying an extension of rent control, plaintiffs, individual taxpayers of the city, the Property Owners Association of Philadelphia, Inc. and five real estate boards filed a complaint in equity against the

[ 387 Pa. Page 364]

    defendant City of Philadelphia seeking to enjoin the enforcement of the rent control ordinance as amended, on the ground that it was unconstitutional and void. Defendant filed an answer and new matter to which plaintiffs filed a reply. Hearing was held before President Judge ALESSANDRONI sitting as chancellor who held that no emergency in housing existed, adjudged the amended ordinance invalid, arbitrary and void and restrained its enforcement. The City filed exceptions to the findings of fact, conclusions of law and decree nisi of the chancellor. These exceptions were dismissed by the court en banc which affirmed the decree nisi. This appeal followed.

In Warren v. Philadelphia, 382 Pa. 380, 115 A.2d 218, taxpayers challenged on various ground the power of the City to enact the rent control ordinance of 1955 and the case came before us on motion for judgment on the pleadings. Speaking through Mr. Justice ARNOLD, we held that the City could, by ordinance, control rents and evictions to meet an emergency housing shortage affecting the public health, safety and welfare, as an exercise of its police power. We did not pass upon the merits of the controversy, and directed a procedendo. There was not sufficient time to undertake and complete a hearing in the ...


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