Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco

Government can’t force tenants for life

Cases > Property Rights > Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco
Case Status: Active: Complaint filed on April 27, 2018

Mr. Pakdel is a small business owner in Ohio. In 2009 he bought what’s known as a “tenancy in common” (TIC) apartment in San Francisco and leased it to a residential tenant. As part of the purchase, Pakdel signed an agreement with the other owners to convert the building’s six units into condominiums. But the City of San Francisco requires that property owners doing this conversion must offer lifetime leases to any tenants. Rather than allow the city to trample his property rights by dictating the use of his own property, Pakdel is fighting the unconstitutional mandate in federal court.

Mr. Pakdel is an engineer who is a partial owner of a small manufacturing company in Northeast Ohio and spent a large part of his retirement savings toward purchasing this property with a hope that he could live there. In 2009, he bought a tenancy in common (TIC) apartment in San Francisco and rented it out to a residential tenant. As part of the purchase, Pakdel signed an agreement with the other owners to follow necessary steps to convert the building’s six units into condominiums.

Pakdel and the other owners eventually pursued conversion plans in 2015—two years after the city passed a Lifetime Lease Requirement mandating that property owners who convert TIC apartments to condos offer lifetime leases to any tenants, including Pakdel’s. Pakdel wants to leave open the possibility of using the condo himself in the future and offered to buy the tenant out of the lease. The tenant did not agree to a reasonable amount and offered to buy the property several hundred thousand dollars below its market value.

PLF represents Pakdel in appealing a federal district court ruling striking down his claims that the Lifetime Lease Requirement violates the following constitutional protections:

  • The Fifth Amendment Takings Clause because it takes away Pakdel’s right to occupy his home and gives it to the tenant—for life.
  • The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments because the requirement interferes with Pakdel’s fundamental right to privacy in his home.
  • The Fourth Amendment because it unreasonably seizes Pakdel’s property.

Moreover, this type of land use restriction makes it more difficult and more expensive to own a home in San Francisco—which is already the most expensive real estate market in the country. San Francisco needs more homeowners, not fewer. And certainly not onerous legislation which drives up real estate prices for everyone.

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What’s at stake?

  • Ownership with no say over your tenants is not ownership at all. By forcing Mr. Pakdel to agree to a lifetime lease, San Francisco has undercut an essential part of his home ownership.
  • San Francisco’s Lifetime Lease Requirement drives up real estate prices for everyone, in the most expensive real estate market in the country.

Case Timeline

Opening Brief

April 27, 2018 Download

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