SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — San Francisco property owners have scored a legal victory over the city involving higher payments to relocate evicted tenants.

Dan and Maria Levin sued in September after the city enacted a new formula for evicting a tenants which required 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.

For the Levins, that meant having to pay more than $117,000.

The new measure was implemented to stave off the wave of Ellis Act evictions the city is experiencing where property owners are allowed by law to remove their properties from the rental market and evict the tenants who occupied those units.

Tuesday, a U.S. District Court judge called the measure unconstitutional.

Supervisor David Campos, who authored the legislation that was struck down, said the city would continue pursue higher relocation payments.

“I want tenants to in San Francisco to know that we are not going to stop fighting because we know that this law could make the difference between someone being able to stay in the city or not, if they’re evicted,” said Campos.

David Breemer of the Pacific Legal Foundation disagreed. “This is about whether a government can make you pay a ransom in order to have exclusive use of your own property”

The Levins said they were grateful for the ruling and look forward to being able to use their property without having to pay a massive fine.

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