Ballinger v. City of Oakland: Pacific Legal Foundation Sues City of “Relocation Assistance Payments”

The Ballingers, a military couple, leased their single family home in Oakland when they were reassigned to Washington D.C. for service. Anticipating they would return to the Bay Area within a few years, they negotiated a term lease that would become a month-to-month tenancy around that time. However, after they leased their home (but before they had planned to move back in), the City of Oakland instituted a “relocation assistance payment” regulation, requiring them to pay their tenants in order to terminate the tenancy and move back in.

The Pacific Legal Foundation represents the Ballingers in their lawsuit against Oakland, alleging that the ordinance constitutes a taking/exaction of private property and that it violates their rights under the Ellis Act.

However, relocation assistance payments that are reasonable have been upheld as consistent with the Ellis Act (cities are actually allowed to mitigate the adverse impacts of Ellis Act displacement, provided the payments do not impose a “prohibitive price“).

That said, the case law interpreting the mitigation payments addresses the Ellis Act only, not the 5th Amendment, so there may be something to the claim that taking money from a landlord to give to a tenant in exchange for allowing the landlord to retake possession of her property is an unconstitutional “taking”. And PLF may have to focus on the constitutional claims, rather than violations of state law, as their clients actually performed an “owner move-in” eviction rather than an Ellis Act eviction.

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Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC To Join MCLE Panel on the Ellis Act in San Francisco

Justin A. Goodman of Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC will join a panel of attorneys (who represent both tenants and landlords), as well as the Senior Advisor at the Office of the Mayor, to teach a continuing legal education course on the Ellis Act. The course will include preparing for withdrawal of residential property from the housing market, the transactional process leading to termination of tenancy, common defenses, and the lasting effect on the property after ‘going out of business’.

The MCLE course is presented by the Bar Association of San Francisco, and will take place on December 10, 2018 at 12:00pm in the BASF Conference Center, located at 301 Battery Street, 3rd Floor, San Francisco, California.

Moderator
Tiffany R. Norman, trn Law Associates

Speakers
Andrew Wiegel, Wiegel Law Group, PLC
Thomas E. Drohan, Staff Attorney Legal Assistance to the Elderly
Justin A. Goodman, Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC
Jeff Buckley, Senior Advisor for the Office of the Mayor

The Bar Association of San Francisco has been providing San Francisco legal professionals with networking and pro bono opportunities in order to better serve the community since 1872.

Its mission is to champion equal access to justice and to promote humanity, excellence, and diversity in the legal profession. It provides legal services to disadvantaged and underserved individuals in San Francisco and creates opportunities for legal service in the community, encouraging participation by its members.

It advances professional growth and education, and elevates the standards of integrity, honor, and respect in the practice of law. It also cultivates diversity and equality in the legal profession, provides a collective voice for public advocacy, and pioneers constructive change in society.

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Daily Journal Features Zacks, Freedman & Patterson Takings Case

The Daily Journal featured a Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC case – San Francisco SRO Hotel Coalition v. City and County of San Francisco (2018) – making an argument for publication of the Court of Appeal case about the application of an injunction against a change-in-use regulation that appeared likely to effect a taking without just compensation.
Continue reading Daily Journal Features Zacks, Freedman & Patterson Takings Case

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Justin Goodman Featured in SF Apartment Magazine Legal Q&A for November 2018

Justin Goodman was featured in the Legal Q&A for the November 2018 issue of SF Apartment Magazine – the official publication of the San Francisco Apartment Association.

Justin discussed potential liability for a landlord “waiting too long” to rent an available apartment when he is only receiving applicants enrolled in the Section 8 program, as well as how the recent opinion CCSF v. Post (2018) changed the rules on “source of income discrimination” in San Francisco.


SFAA is dedicated to educating, advocating for, and supporting the rental housing community so that its members operate ethically, fairly, and profitably. SFAA’s is a trade association whose main focus is to support rental owners by offering a wide variety of benefits that address all aspects of rental housing industry.

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San Francisco Legislative Update (2018): New “Fire Life Safety Notice and Order” Enhances City’s Tools for Fire Safety Violations and Mandated Upgrades

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Ordinance 267-18 amends the Building Code to create a new “Fire Life Safety Notice and Order” that Department of Building Inspection officials can issue in response to repeated violations of DBI-enforced fire safety requirements.

The new rules apply to buildings of three or more units (i.e., anything larger than a duplex) and after two or more unabated Fire Life Safety Notice and Orders, they will require the building owner to do one or more of the following:

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California Proposition 10 (2018): Voters Reject Repeal of Costa-Hawkins

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SF Gate reports on the defeat of Prop. 10 at the ballot. The measure to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act “fell behind early and continued to trail by a margin of about 65 percent to 35 percent throughout the night”.

Proposition 10 followed AB 1506 (2017), a legislative attempt at repeal, which failed to get out of committee.

For now, cities remain capable of implementing new rent control ordinances. However, Costa-Hawkins will continue to limit the extent of local price controls (as cities cannot impose price ceilings on “new construction”, apply “strict” vacancy control to empty units, or extend rent control to new tenancies in single family homes and condominiums).

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Justin Goodman Featured in SF Apartment Magazine Legal Q&A for October 2018

Justin Goodman was featured in the Legal Q&A for the October 2018 issue of SF Apartment Magazine – the official publication of the San Francisco Apartment Association.

Justin discussed “what happens next in San Francisco” in the event Prop 10 passes (although as of recently, it is not polling well). (Prop 10 (“the Affordable Housing Act“) is the ballot initiative seeking to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.)

The October 2018 issue also featured Justin’s recommendation to landlords dealing with fires, in terms of tenants, regulations and restoration work, in an article by editor Emily Landes, titled “Master of Disaster“.


SFAA is dedicated to educating, advocating for, and supporting the rental housing community so that its members operate ethically, fairly, and profitably. SFAA’s is a trade association whose main focus is to support rental owners by offering a wide variety of benefits that address all aspects of rental housing industry.

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Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC Attends FBANC Celebration of Judge Quidachay

Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC attended the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California celebration of retired Judge Ronald Evans Quidachay, hosted by the Dolan Law Firm.

(Featured: Staff Attorney Olga Grecova, Justin A. Goodman of Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC and Hon. Judge Ronald Evans Quidachay)

Judge Quidachay was one of the founding members of FBANC and the first Filipino-American to be appointed as a judge in Northern California (in 1983).

Also in attendance were the members of FBANC, past and present court staff, friends, family and the landlord and tenant attorneys who have had the great pleasure of arguing before him in Housing Court (some for their entire careers).

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San Francisco Chronicle Recommends No on Prop. 10

Citing a nearly universal rejection of rent control by economists, the San Francisco Chronicle recommends voting “no” on Proposition 10, the ballot measure aimed at repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act – a state law limiting and defining cities’ ability to impose rent control.

As the Chronicle describes it, “Prop. 10 would repeal the 1995 Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which protects properties built that year or later from rent control. The law also prevents cities with preexisting rent control laws from extending them to newer units; San Francisco’s ordinance, for example, remains limited to housing built before 1980. And Costa-Hawkins exempts single-family homes from rent control while guaranteeing property owners the right to raise rents to market value when units are vacated.”

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Los Angeles Times Reports on Tenant Choices in Return of Ellis-Withdrawn Building to Rental Market

The Los Angeles Times reports on the decisions of tenants, displaced by the Ellis Act, to return to their former units later re-offered for rent.

While the Ellis Act is colloquially described as “going out of the rental business”, it actually sets the standards for cities to implement rules on withdrawing from the market and going back into business later. For instance, a displaced tenant may be re-offered their former unit if rented within ten years of withdrawal, and within five years, they benefit from their old rent-controlled rental rate.

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Residential Rent and Eviction Control Resources