October 6, 2014

Trial in Levin v. San Francisco

By Trial in Levin v. San Francisco

PLF Principal Attorney Dave Breemer and I appeared before Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco this morning at the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California.  Today was the bench trial on our facial claims challenging the City of San Francisco’s tenant relocation ordinance.  As reported, the law essentially holds San Francisco landlords hostage by conditioning their right to exit the rental business on their paying extortionate sums of money to their tenants.  Our clients, Daniel and Maria Levin, face a $118,000 liability just to take back the bottom portion of their house for use by their family and friends.  Several reporters attended the hearing and our press conference in front of the courthouse afterwards, clips of which you can watch above or on PLF’s YouTube channel.


The Judge ordered additional briefing in the case which will be filed next week, after which we expect a ruling.



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Levin v. City and County of San Francisco

Dan and Maria Levin live in the upstairs unit of their two-story home in San Francisco, California. They would like to use the lower unit for friends and family, but a city ordinance required them to pay their tenant $118,000 to withdraw the unit from the rental market. This amount represents the difference between the tenant’s existing, rent-controlled rate and the cost of acquiring a comparable unit at open market rates, for two years. Representing the Levins and others, PLF successfully sued to strike down this ordinance as an unconstitutional taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment and violation of California’s Ellis Act, which guarantees to property owners the right to take property off the rental market.

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