Monday, December 28, 2015

2015 Roundup In CA/SF Real Property Law

2015 was an eventful year, if measured in the scope of the real property legal changes. No stone left unturned. I got to witness it from the front seat myself: for this was the year when I decided to publish my book on the San Francisco eviction notices. It got published in April 2015, and I thought to be done with it for awhile. Little did I know, the changes would demand me to issue seven revisions during next five months, after which a big slew of changes came at once with the Ordinance 171-15, making me to rewrite almost the whole book anew! Version 2.0 went out in December (and yes, with some of the even more recent changes mentioned here, version 2.1 is already in the making).  But enough about me, let's look back and observe, what an enormous year 2015 was for the legal landscape in CA/SF real estate:

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

New Edition Of The Eviction Book

Writing a law review is unfair business--it does not stay relevant for long. Only in April I had published my first edition of the eviction notice book, and today that version is already obsolete. It lived through updates up to a version 1.7, which I proudly reworked in September, ... and then the Rent Ordinance was amended in so many different spots, I had to re-write most of the chapters. And so the second version was born!  [Amazon link]

Here is what's new:

Saturday, December 5, 2015

New Rules On Subletting and Assignment

Following the recent enaction of S.F. Rent Ordinance amendment and Board's December 3 hearing, the Board adopted amended versions of Rules 6.15A, B, and D, and added Rule 6.15E, effective December 4. As of today, the Board's website does not show the updated versions yet, but once they will be released, they are expected to be published here.

In the meanwhile, especially since the Rules are already in full force, read the latest revisions in the legislative PDF version, here: 6.15A, 6.15B, 6.15D6.15E.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Demurrer By A Motion To Quash Is No More--Delta Motion Is Held Wrong Practice

For many years, there was a peculiar decision in Delta Imps. v. Mun. Ct. (1983) 146 Cal.App.3d 1033, holding that the only way a complaint in unlawful detainer can be challenged on legal grounds was for a tenant to bring a motion to quash, not a demurrer. Many voiced their disagreement with this case during its 32-year legacy, and it seems that the last nail has arrived this week, the decision in Borsuk v. App. Div. of the Sup. Ct(2015) 242 Cal. App. 4th 607.

New Meet & Confer Rules For California Demurrer and some motions - CCP 430.41, 435.5, 439

[Update - - my short 2015 post about demurrers' new meet & confer rule needs to be updated, now to include other motions, also requiring meet & confer step effective January 1, 2018.
CCP § 435.5 covers motions to strike, and CCP § 439 judgments on the pleadings, both with the exceptions similar to ones previously secured for demurrers under 430.41 (unlawful detainer, incarcerated moving party) and adds two more exceptions (anti-SLAPP motions and a motion brought less than 30 days before trial).]

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Passing On Eviction Protections 2.0

On September 22, 2015, the Board of Supervisors passed a set of proposed amendments to the Rent Ordinance. The did it in first reading, and for the most parts of the proposal voted for it 11 to none. This amendment must be a no brainer then, if it met such support, yet the joyous media coverage avoids to talk details. Let's give it a try here.
[Update 11-21-15] - the amendments became effective on November 9, 2015. The Rent Board's published version of the Rent Ordinance now reflects the changes; the multilingual form now required to be attached to the eviction notice is published here.
[Update 12-5-15] - 3 amended and 1 new Rule in 6.xx series became adopted, effective December 4.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

City of Richmond, CA, enacts Rent Ordinance

Our neighbor city across the Bay became the latest municipality to enact a rent ordinance. It was adopted on August 5, 2015, and is codified as Richmond Municipal Code, Article XI, Section I, Chapter 11.000, named the "Rent Control and Just Cause for Eviction" ordinance. It goes into effect on September 4, 2015, 30 days after its adoption.
[UPDATE 10-1-2015: the ordinance is suspended while placed on the referendum ballot for voting]

Monday, July 20, 2015

New Units Added During Seismic Renovation Will Be Subject To Rent Ordinance

A recent new ordinance (coded 30-15, File No. 140954), introduced by Supervisor Wiener, allows for new rental units be added to existing structures during their seismic renovation, providing for necessary exemptions in the Planning Code. This ordinance was passed by the Board of Supervisors unanimously. What does it mean from the rental perspective?

Monday, July 6, 2015

Fresh Amendment to Ellis Act Relocation Payments Ordinance

The San Francisco Rent Board has recently amended Section 37.9A of the San Francisco Administrative Code, capping the amount of proposed relocation payments at $50,000. This is still an about three times larger amount than what is currently allowed, but at least there is now a limit.

Monday, June 22, 2015

1:1 - Two Recent Attacks on Ellis Act Notice Went Different Ways

Within one week the Appellate Division of the San Francisco Superior Court issued two decisions addressing requirements for an Ellis Act eviction under S.F. Admin. Code, Section 37.9A(f), taking an evidently different approach in reading the section in two cases and achieving opposite results.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Senior Water Rights Are Suspended In California

Suspending senior water rights in California is a new development in the state's real property law, with its practical implications being of much more interest than its legal background. The drought affects all Californians and this reform relates to many. Will it sustain the challenge?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Drafting Eviction Notice In San Francisco -- Book's Volume I Is Published

I  am excited to report that the first part of my book, covering general requirements and nine "for-fault" evictions, is finally out and went live on Amazon today. Here are direct links: paperback and the ebook versions. Second volume is still in the works, it will cover the "no fault" evictions.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Historical Development Of Eviction Laws

An eviction lawsuit is not a modern invention. Its elements developed over the course of centuries, some surprisingly long time ago. This short article is an attempt to cover most noticeable cornerstones.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Is There A True Ellis Act Eviction Epidemy—A Study In Reading Statistics

On March 23, 2015, the Rent Board published its annual statistical report on eviction notices, filed with the Board from March 1, 2014, through February 28, 2015. Page 2 shows a break-down by the types of notices and their change in usage in comparison to the previous year. I noticed a 48% decline in filed notices under the Ellis Act cause for eviction, and wondered, whether this decline is connected with the last year's attempt to increase the relocation payments due to the tenants to some cosmic amount, something the courts currently holding as unreasonable and unconstitutional. I saw it closely related, and along with that I also made several peculiar findings on how statistics work in scaling up (scarring up?) the reported amount of the Ellis Act evictions.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New practice of S.F. tax assessor requesting extensive info

A new practice of assessing the property tax gains speed in San Francisco. No longer it is enough to report your sale's price to establish the new value. Instead, new owners now receive a letter like this from the San Francisco Tax Assessor Office. It asks the new buyer about a lot of additional information, even some that buyer may not even know, such as future rent values. What a buyer to do?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Direct Deposits And Other Electronic Means Affecting Landlord and Tenant Duties

An important new case came down last December, Kruger v. Reyes, 232 Cal.App.4th Supp. 10, 181 Cal. Rptr. 3d 521 (2014), covering several rules: timely service of the notice for non-payment rent, proper calculations in that notice of the rent due and the time when it is due. None of those concepts are new, but the case contains rare findings due to its fact pattern, including the issue of tenants paying rent by depositing funds directly to the landlord's account.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Everybody is Client-Employer And There Is No Exemption. This And Other New Developments in Labor for 2015

If you thought our existing labor laws in 2014 were tough as it can be, you might now change your opinion, because it ain't going any easier for an employer. Below is the summary of some most important changes the year 2015 brought in, mainly the scary new "client-employer" rule. Observers typically point that some clients are exempt, but I am confident to say to the contrary. Unless you are a governmental entity, no one is exempt. Sorry.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Eviction Control v. Rent Control - Is It Possible To Evict From a Single Family House In San Francisco?

Common wisdom holds that, while certain housing units are exempt from the Rent Control in San Francisco, they are still subject to the Eviction Control. That is, even if you can raise rent in those units above the limits dictated by the Rent Board, you still can't evict a person but for the defined "just cause" reasons. Such is the statement in Topic No. 19, issued by the San Francisco Rent Board.

Yet a close analysis of applicable sections of the SF Administrative Code indicates that an exception to the rule does exist, albeit a very narrow one. Despite what is said in the Topic No. 19, the prohibition is not absolute.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Interest on security deposits in SF - paid annually and on all units, except subsidized

I've been at the Rent Board last Friday and overheard a conversation regarding payments on security deposits. I thought you might be interested to find out that:

(1) - The interest is paid annually, not when the tenant vacates [Section 49.2(b)];

(2) - The interest is paid also on the units exempt from the rent control; only government-subsidized units (Section 8, SFHA, etc.) are not subject to it.