PLF statement on victory: S.F. tenant-payment mandate is struck down
SAN FRANCISCO, CA; October 21, 2014: Today, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer sided with PacificLegal Foundation’s (PLF) lawsuit and struck down San Francisco’s Tenant Relocation Ordinance, as unconstitutional.
Under the ordinance, rental property owners who want to reclaim use of their own property must pay a massive sum to their tenants — a sum that the tenant doesn’t even have to use for relocation purposes.
PLF’s lead clients are Dan and Maria Levin, who live in the upstairs unit of their two-story home. They would like to use the lower unit for friends and family, but they would have to pay their tenant $118,000 to withdraw it from the rental market. As a national property rights defender, PLF represents the Levins, as with all our clients, free of charge.
PLF Principal Attorney J. David Breemer issued this statement inresponse to today’s ruling:
“This is a great victory for every San Franciscan who owns any kind of home or property, small or large, and for everyone who values property rights as a fundamental freedom,” said PLF Principal Attorney J. David Breemer, the lead attorney in PLF’s challenge to the relocation-payment mandate. “By striking down this confiscatory law, Judge Breyer’s ruling makes it clear that government can’t force people to stay in the rental-property business against their will. And government can’t force owners to pay a massive ransom in order to make use of their own property. The Constitution protects property rights for everyone, including rental property owners. Today’s ruling should remind city leaders that the Constitution protects property owners in San Francisco, like everywhere else.”
PLF clients Dan and Maria Levin issued this statement:
“We are gratified that Judge Breyer found this oppressive law to be unconstitutional,” said Dan Levin. “We thank the lawyers at Pacific Legal Foundation for all their hard work. We now look forward to being able to use our own property for family and friends without having to pay a massive fine.”
About Pacific Legal Foundation
Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation is the leading legal watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, and free enterprise, in courts across the country. PLF represents all clients free of charge.
Case CommentarySee all posts
In 2014 PLF successfully asked a federal court to strike down a San Francisco ordinance that required landlords to pay their tenants the difference between the rent they charged (often low due to rent control policies) and the current market rent for two years if the landlord removed their property from the rental market under California’s Ellis Act Under the ordinance, some property owners were required to pay out hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in some cases, millions, just to stop being landlords After PLF’s victory on behalf of the Levins, San Francisco amended its ordinance to cap the amount landlords could be forcedRead more
Today, the City of San Francisco issued a press statement announcing its plans to appeal its recent loss in the case of Levin et al v City and County of San Francisco In that case, a federal court held that the City unconstitutionally took private property in enacting a law requiring landlords to pay tenants massive sums of money ($118,000 for the Levins) before they can leave the rental business See here for a summary of the decision
In its statement today, the City bemoaned yesterday’s defeat and the important limits it sets on the ability of government to extort property in the permit process:
“This decision places a new and significant obstacle in front of cities defendingRead more