San Francisco Landlords Sue City Over Increased Ellis Act Relocation Fees

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Several property owners and two landlord associations sued the city of San Francisco in federal court Thursday to challenge a new city law that sharply increases relocation assistance payments required for tenants evicted under the state’s Ellis Act.

The lawsuit claims the law “illegally and unconstitutionally requires rental property owners to transfer massive sums of money…to  tenants before they can take their property off the rental market.”

California’s 1985 Ellis Act allows landlords to remove rental units from the market and evict the tenants who occupied them. It also allows cities to take measures to mitigate the impact on tenants.

This spring, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors revised a previous ordinance to increase the payments landlords must provide to tenants
evicted under the state law.

The new measure, which went into effect June 1, requires landlords to pay an amount equal to the difference between the tenant’s current rent and the cost of comparable housing in the city for two years.

Lawsuit plaintiffs Daniel and Maria Levin, who own a two-unit building on Lombard Street and live in the top unit, say the law requires them to pay $118,000 to a downstairs tenant so they can remodel the building and use both units for themselves.

Another landlord plaintiff, Park Lane Associates, says the law will force it to pay $1.45 million to the occupants of 15 currently rented units before it can convert the 33-unit building to a tenancy-in-common property.

The city law “effects a blatant transfer of wealth from some private citizens to others,” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit is based on claims that the city ordinance is an unconstitutional taking of private property and violation of due process.

It seeks a court declaration that the measure is unconstitutional and an injunction barring the city from enforcing it.

Other plaintiffs in the case are the San Francisco Apartment Association and Coalition for Better Housing. The plaintiffs are represented by the Pacific Legal Foundation, a Sacramento-based public interest law firm that supports property rights and free enterprise.

Complete Coverage On The Ellis Act

© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS San Francisco

Get The New CBS SF Bay Area Local App
Got Our Weather App?

Listen Live