NY enacted a law that prohibited
landlords from interfering with the installation of cable television facilities on their rental
property. Before P had acquired her apartment building, a cable company installed
equipment on the building’s exterior. The Court held that the law constituted an
unconstitutional taking. “The historical rule that a permanent physical occupation of
another’s property is a taking has more than tradition to commend it. Such an
appropriation is perhaps the most serious form of invasion of an owner’s property
interests. To borrow a metaphor…the gov’t does not simply take a single “strand” from
the “bundle” of property rights; it chops through the bundle, taking a slice of every
strand.
***If the gov’t makes or authorizes a permanent physical occupation of the property, this
will automatically be found to constitute a taking, no matter how minor the interference
with the owner’s use and no matter how important the countervailing gov’t interests.***
****This scheme permitted landlords to charge the cable companies what was in most
instances of a maximum one-time fee of $1.****