Golden State Ventures, LLC v. City of Oakland Rent Board – (Unpublished) Clarity on the “Sold Separately” Requirement for Condominium Decontrol under Costa-Hawkins

“The Rent Board contends the “sold separately” exception does apply under our facts because plaintiff “admits that it has control of and owns the entire building at 840 55th Street, Oakland, California.” The Rent Board also notes the building’s four units are all connected within the structure, there are no units in the building that were not converted to condominiums, plaintiff negotiated to purchase all the units together, none of the units were sold to new occupants, and the complaining tenants continued to reside in their units just as they had prior to the conversion. Essentially, the Rent Board asserts plaintiff did not meet the “sold separately” requirement because it purchased the entire apartment building, regardless of how the transaction was structured. Plaintiff counters that the “sold separately” exception “applies rent control only to condominium subdividers [like Kolevzon], not to subsequent purchasers like Golden State.” Plaintiff is correct.”

In Golden State Ventures, LLC v. City of Oakland Rent Board, a landlord purchased four out of four of the condominium units in a single building in Oakland, and then increased the tenants’ rents by 125%. Apparently quite proud of this purchase, “In a blog posting discussing the acquisition of the building, plaintiff’s principal, Arlen Chou, stated: ‘The best part of the property is that as they are condominiums, they are EXEMPT from rent control! I will soon own a little island of rent control free property in a rising neighborhood in Oakland. Who said there are no deals in the Bay Area???’.”

However, while Costa-Hawkins decontrols “separately alienable” units (like single family homes) from rent control, a 2002 amendment “closed the loophole” where condominium subdividers obtained final map approval for sale, but then kept entire buildings – formerly apartments – as rent-control-exempt property, exalting form over function. As noted by the court in Golden State Ventures, LLC, “Such conduct was entirely legal at that time”, until the 2002 amendment required that the units be “sold separately to a bona fide purchaser” before decontrol applied.

Continue reading Golden State Ventures, LLC v. City of Oakland Rent Board – (Unpublished) Clarity on the “Sold Separately” Requirement for Condominium Decontrol under Costa-Hawkins

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

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

Justin discussed San Francisco’s recent “ISP anti-monopoly” ordinance (titled “Occupant’s Right To Choose a Communications Services Provider”), explaining the ISP’s obligations in complying with the law while seeking access to a building, as well as an owner’s rights and duties in allowing (or lawfully refusing) access.


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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SF Curbed Reports on Failed Costa-Hawkins Repeal Effort

Today, AB 1506 – the Assembly Bill aiming to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, failed to obtain the necessary votes to get out of the Housing and Community Development Committee. Costa-Hawkins prevents cities from imposing “strict” vacancy control (i.e., maintaining rental rates even after all tenants vacate) and it exempts certain kinds of property (like single family homes, condominiums and “new construction”) from price controls.

AB 1506 would simply have repealed Sections 1954.50, et seq. of the Civil Code, eliminating the preemptive state law, but it fell one vote short of the necessary four. Another repeal effort, styled as The Affordable Housing Act, may be headed to voters this November, if it obtains the necessary signatures by a June 28, 2018 deadline.

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San Francisco Election Update (Archives): Proposition I (1994) – Removing Four-Unit Owner-Occupied Building Exemption from Rent Ordinance

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On November 8, 1994, San Francisco voters passed Proposition I, which removed the provision of the Rent Ordinance exempting owner-occupied buildings with four or fewer units from the Rent Ordinance. That provision of (former) Section 37.2(p)(5) defined “rental units” to exclude “owner occupied buildings containing four (4) residential units or less, wherein owner has resided for at least six continuous months”.

Proposition I rolled back rents to their May 1, 1994 levels and it applied eviction control provisions to these rental units. The Rent Board also amended its Rules & Regulations to apply the new changes.

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Justin Goodman Featured in SF Apartment Magazine Legal Q&A for November 2017

Justin Goodman was featured in the Legal Q&A for the November 2017 issue of SF Apartment Magazine – the official publication of the San Francisco Apartment Association.

Justin engaged an interesting issue about a tenant violating a lease provision concerning their parking space – one that called for forfeiture of the space – in the context of San Francisco’s prohibition against severing housing services without “just cause” and in the context of case law preventing evictions other than for violations of “material” lease terms.


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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“Costa-Hawkins Repeal” Effort May Be Heading Directly To Voters

This Monday, Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, filed a proposed ballot initiative with Office of the Attorney General, aiming to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

The ballot measure would send the issue of repeal directly to the voters, following the decision of Assemblymembers Chiu and Bloom to slow-track their legislative effort for repeal (AB 1506).

Continue reading “Costa-Hawkins Repeal” Effort May Be Heading Directly To Voters

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Governor Brown Prohibits “Price Gouging” Following North Bay Fires

Following Governor Brown’s declaration of a state of emergency in Napa, Sonoma and Yuba Counties after the October 2017 “Tubbs” and “Atlas” Fires, the Governor has signed an executive order extending protections against “price-gouging”.

The invocation of California Penal Code §396 now makes it unlawful “to sell or offer to sell any consumer food items or goods, goods or services used for emergency cleanup, emergency supplies, medical supplies, home heating oil, building materials, housing, transportation, freight, and storage services, or gasoline or other motor fuels for a price of more than 10 percent above the price charged by that person for those goods or services immediately prior to the proclamation or declaration of emergency”.

This prohibition includes rent increases in the affected areas, and a recent executive order extends this limitation through April 18, 2018.

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Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC Attends Congressman Jim Costa Fundraiser: “A Conversation about Costa-Hawkins 20 Years Later”

Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC attended a Bay Area reception supporting Jim Costa, U.S. Representative for California’s 16th Congressional District. In 1995, then-California State Senator Costa co-sponsored AB 1164 with then-Assemblyman Phil Hawkins, known as the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (Cal. Civ., §§1954.50, et seq.).

(Featured: Justin A. Goodman of Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC (left) and U.S. Representative Jim Costa (right))

Representative Costa, now advancing California’s interests in Washington, gave an insightful presentation on the political climate beginning with the adoption of rent control in the early 1980s leading up to the passing of Costa-Hawkins. He also discussed AB 1506, the recent legislative effort to repeal Costa-Hawkins, and political strategies on fighting repeal efforts at the ballot.

The event was sponsored by the Berkeley Property Owners Association and the East Bay Rental Housing Association.

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Residential Rent and Eviction Control Resources