Friday, June 22, 2018

How Preemptive Is the Ellis Act?

On June 20, 2018, California Supreme Court denied review of Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute v. City & County of San Francisco (2018) 22 Cal.App.5th 77, thus affirming its holding, striking a 10-year ban on alterations of non-conforming units following the Ellis Act evictions.  The decision was reached on the preemption argument of the Ellis Act (Cal. Gov. Code § 7060 et seq.).  How often it is a winning argument, and how universally its preemption is applied? Let us take a look at a few recent decisions.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Constitutionality of the requirement for a life-time lease as condition for condo conversion was upheld

In July of last year, TIC co-owners of a multi-unit building in San Francisco sued against the ordinance provisions requiring a lifetime lease to be offered to those tenants who reside in the units subjected to a condominium conversion. Case 3:17-cv-03638, Pakdel et al v. City and County of San Francisco (2017 WL 6403074), filed before the Northern District of California federal district court.

The court granted City's motion to dismiss (Docket # 25, 11/20/2017). Of interest to other practitioners, in its relevant portion (page 10), the court found the requirement of offering a lifetime lease constitutional, as one passing the rational basis review standard. The requirement itself is found in Sec. 1396.4(g) of the San Francisco Subdivision Code.

The case is currently pending appeal, opening brief filed on April 28, 2018. Appeals' Case Number 17-17504.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Another attack on Rent Ordinance Registration Requirement--This Time In San Jose

I must start with repeating an old joke. As a train arrived to the station, a passenger asked a conductor: "will this train take me to the Main Street?"  "No," replied the conductor, "of course not, we don't even have the tracks laid in that direction." Another eager passenger standing behind the first one then asks, "would this train take me there?"

This anecdote came up when I've read the news yesterday, announcing that the San Jose landlords seek court's help in preventing the San Jose's rent ordinance new requirement for landlords to register with the board and provide specific information on each rent-controlled tenancy. We wish these landlords luck, wholeheartedly, and check on where all prior trains took landlords on this argument.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The "Educators" Ordinance Is Back

Today the court of appeals reversed in full its 2016 judgment, which up until today was holding the "educators" ordinance on hold. There is a hope that the certiorari review will follow, but, as of now, the ugly and self-contradicting piece is coming back on the books. And I mean it literally as well, I'll have to update the book again (only in this case, downgrade it back).

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

New 2018 edition of the "Eviction Notice In SF" is out

I could write my own introduction to this new edition, but I like this one instead:

"Having taken more than ordinary Pains in collecting the Materials which compose the following History, we could not be satisfied with our selves, if any Thing were wanting to it, which might render it entirely satisfactory to the Publick: It is for this Reason we have subjoined to the Work, a short Abstract of the Law now in Force [], and made Choice of some particular Cases, (the most curious we could meet with) which have been heretofore tried, by which it will appear what Actions have, and what have not been adjudged []." A General History of the Pyrates, 4th Ed., 1726.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Between the rock and the hard place—a peculiar position of a master tenant

When we talk about a landlord-tenant relationship, we often imply the simplest pairing: that there is a landlord and there is that landlord's tenant, a straightforward exchange of promises and obligations going both ways (that those promises and obligations can go a wrong way or even entirely sideways is covered elsewhere in this blog).  But what if a tenant has own tenants, who sublease a portion of that tenant's whole tenancy? In San Francisco, it puts that main or "master" tenant in a position coupled with unique and nondelegable obligations.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Bending Laws of Physics - A New Opportunity For Lawyers in Richmond

Lawyers are so generally expected to be masters at bending laws, there are folklore quotes about it in pretty much every language. In Russian, the saying goes as "The Law is like an axle--it goes where you turn it." In other words, fatta la legge trovato l'inganno. But the newly enacted Rent Ordinance in the City of Richmond, California, raised the expectations of legal process to a new, previously unattended height--to bend the laws of physics. This must be the highest bar a practitioner will ever meet.

This is not say that time-bending is impossible. Other non-laywering professions post victorious news about conquering what was previously unthinkable, almost daily. Just yesterday, a gravitational wave from 2 billion years was detected, and the BBC today reported on a first-ever chemical surgery on an embryo, correcting its DNA. And now, thanks to the legislators in Richmond, we can boast of something too.