Thursday, October 23, 2014

Anti-Ellis Act SF Ordinance Found Unconstitutional (Fed) and Unreasonable (State)

Federal Judge Breyer found the recently enacted San Francisco [anti] Ellis Act ordinance unconstitutional in a memorandum published on October 21, 2014. (Scribd copy). It is interesting that the court addressed the application of ordinance's formula as bringing counterintuitive results in amounts payable to the tenants (see page 8 of the memo), in line with the hypotheticals I made in my June post. In February, state Judge Quidachay found the ordinance "unreasonable." (Rent Board copy).

Update: the Rent Board issued a bulletin confirming that the subject payment requirements under the new ordinance are currently off, and the payments proceed under the prior scheme.

Update 2-20-15: on the state trial court level, demurrer to Jacoby's petition is overruled, on the distinction between characterizing the payment to evicted tenants as "unreasonable" or "prohibitive."

Update 3-25-15: the Rent Board had the decision on demurrer in Jacoby case published as well, but what is more interesting is the annual report, issued March 23, 2015, covering the statistics on eviction notices filed from March 1, 2014, through February 28, 2015. Page 2 shows the impact this unreasonable [state court] and unconstitutional [Fed. court] legislation had on the housing: 48% decline in filed notices under the Ellis Act cause for eviction. For the short time the legislation was alive, it slashed the total number of a whole of Ellis Act filings in half--a huge impact by all means.

Update 6-14-15: the Rent Board caps proposed total payment amounts at $50,000. More on this here.
Update 10-2-15: the court strikes this new 50K cap proposal, as even more unreasonable than the original regulation (Coyne case, CPF-15-514382)

Update 3-21-17: the court of appeals affirmed the trial court's decision in Coyne and Jacoby, invalidating both 54-14 and 68-15 ordinances.

More real property posts

Your options and available strategies in handling evictions will depend on your case's particular facts. If you want to learn on your options, rights, and obligations in contesting or preserving your real property rights, including the Ellis Act evictions, make your first step toward taking control over the circumstances, and call my office at (415) 987-7000. I will be glad to assist in guiding you through the jungle. The only thing you can't afford is to stay put and uninformed. My office provides a confidential assessment of your particular scenario, free of charge, and I will share with you the results of the analysis along with my thoughts on available solutions.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Right For Private Action For a New Public Enforcer - Pro-Tenant Non-Profits

In the heavily discussed and disputed legislation proposing regulation of short-term homesharing (facilitated via online services such as or, among others), one offered amendment proposes to give the ordinance some "teeth" by including an opportunity for pro-tenant non-profits to sue landlords for violations of this short-term vacationing ordinance. In other words, to have a citywide Private Attorney General Act, or, more appropriately labeled as a Private City Attorney Act.  We are yet to see if this proposal will fit the applicable state law on the subject. Comparing with the already existing enforcement schemes in the fields of disability discrimination (ADA) and employment (PAGA), there are several things are to consider: