The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Friday that the government cannot demand hefty development fees from property owners in exchange for building permits. The case is being hailed by the National Association of REALTORS®, and other housing groups, as a major victory for property rights in a fight against what’s been called “exorbitant fees” tacked onto permit approvals in new development projects.

The Supreme Court’s ruling stems from a 2016 lawsuit filed by a California landowner after laws through his county government required him to pay more than $23,000 for a “traffic impact fee study” while he tried to obtain a permit to build a manufactured home on his property. The county fees were implemented to help pay for roadwork and infrastructure in the community. After the lower courts sided with the county, the owner and his attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in.

NAR and other housing groups sent letters of support regarding the case to the justices. “Impact fees have real consequences for homeownership in America, particularly with today’s high interest rates and limited housing affordability. Many prospective home buyers are priced out of the market by the tens of thousands of dollars in impact fees imposed on the average property owner,” NAR, the American Property Owners Alliance, the REALTORS® Land Institute, and the California Association of REALTORS® wrote in the amicus brief, filed with the court last year.

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