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“Proposition 10: 2.0”: Michael Weinstein’s Second Effort To Repeal Costa-Hawkins at the Ballot Box

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Proposition 10 boldly failed in the November 2018 election (with only a couple bay area counties voting “yes” in a majority). The battle over Proposition 10 was one of the most expensive in California history, and the “no” camp was ultimately successful in arguing that expanding rent control would “increase the states housing shortage, exacerbate overall affordability issues and hurt the investments of single-family homeowners”.

Not to be deterred, Michael Weinstein of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation is back with Proposition 10: 2.0:

Titled the Rental Affordability Act, it would seek to expand the authority of cities to regulate rents by changing several provisions of the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (including the name of the act itself, which must be synecdoche for “statewide unaffordable rental rates” for tenant advocates by this point.)

It would remove the “new construction” exemption, in favor of a 15-year phase-in period for newly built units. It would remove a lesser known provision that grandfathers in exemptions in local ordinances that pre-dated the act. Most sweeping, it would eliminate the language of “vacancy decontrol” and replace it with a state-wide policy authorizing local rent control ordinances. (This language would mostly be symbolic, given the landmark decision Birkenfeld v. City of Berkeley (1976) 17 Cal.3d 129, where the Supreme Court first recognized this authority.) Finally, for cities administering a rent control ordinance, the Rental Affordability Act would restrict the rental rate to 15% above the rate for the previous tenancy (with no provisions evaluating the fairness of the previous rate – e.g., if it was leased to a family friend at a steep discount).

Unsurprisingly, the California Apartment Association has taken a position against the new initiative.

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Justin Goodman Featured in SF Apartment Magazine Legal Q&A for June 2019

Justin Goodman was featured in the Legal Q&A for the June 2019 issue of SF Apartment Magazine – the official publication of the San Francisco Apartment Association.

Justin explained how to avoid the “intergenerational rent-controlled tenancy” (when children grow up and attempt to start paying rent in their parents’ rent-controlled apartment), as well as the use of a new California law regulating “third-party payments” as an estoppel tool to prevent a Costa-Hawkins waiver.


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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Knick v. Twp. of Scott, Pennsylvania (2019): SCOTUS Reverses Course on Williamson, Ending the “San Remo Preclusion Trap” for State Court Takings Cases

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Knick v. Township of Scott, Pennsylvania resolves a vein of takings jurisprudence that first required a property owner to adjudicate just compensation for a takings claim under the federal Constitution in state law court, but then denied any federal relief to the unsuccessful state court litigant.
Continue reading Knick v. Twp. of Scott, Pennsylvania (2019): SCOTUS Reverses Course on Williamson, Ending the “San Remo Preclusion Trap” for State Court Takings Cases

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Veiseh v. Stapp (2019): Defect in Transfer under Uniform Transfer to Minors Act Is No Impediment to Standing in Trespass Action

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In Veiseh v. Stapp, the Fifth District addressed a novel turn on an old rule – that the plaintiff in an action for trespass need not establish title, but is merely required to establish actual possession.

The plaintiff owned farmland, and though he used it for his own purposes, he attempted to transfer it to his ex-wife, for the benefit of their daughter, for estate planning purposes. However, the form of transfer implicated the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act, which required such assets to be held for the benefit of the transferee minor. Plaintiff’s transfer was defective, because he continued to use the property himself. The owner of the adjacent parcel leased to a cattle rancher, whose cattle grazed on plaintiff’s land, damaging it. Plaintiff sued for trespass.

The defendants moved for a bifurcated trial to first litigate the issue of standing. They argued that a trespass plaintiff was required to establish that he was in “lawful possession” of the trespassed land. Because the transfer violated the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act, the plaintiff was not the right plaintiff. The trial court agreed.

The Court of Appeals, however, noted the “well-settled proposition that the proper party plaintiff in an action for trespass to real property is the person in actual possession”. “The proper person to bring an action for trespass to real property is the person in actual possession. In the context of a trespass action, ‘possession’ is synonymous with ‘occupation’ and connotes a subjection of property to one’s will and control. We adopt this definition.”

While the term “lawful possession” is sometimes used to describe the trespass plaintiff’s status, the term “lawful” in this context merely means “not tortious”. The father’s occupation and possession was sufficient to maintain the action, and the Court of Appeal reversed with directions to litigate the second phase of the trial.

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Justin Goodman Featured in SF Apartment Magazine Legal Q&A for May 2019

Justin Goodman was featured in the Legal Q&A for the May 2019 issue of SF Apartment Magazine – the official publication of the San Francisco Apartment Association.

Justin explored various ways a landlord can impose limits on the number of occupants in a rental unit, even though San Francisco has made it more difficult over the years for landlords to enforce limitations in lease agreements.


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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Chun v. Del Cid (2019) – Second District Court of Appeal Interprets LA Municipal Code To Find “Rooming House” No Longer Exempt as “Single Family Home” from Eviction Protections

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In Chun v. Del Cid, a landlord of a single family home in Los Angeles served 60-day termination notices on multiple tenants who were leasing individual bedrooms in a single family home. The Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance generally exempts single family homes from eviction protections, and without LARSO eviction protections, a 60-day notice under state law can often be served at any time, for (almost) any reason.

The tenants defended an unlawful detainer lawsuit on the basis that their use of the property as a “rooming house” took the single family home out of the exemption. The trial court and appellate division disagreed, finding that the property was designed as a single family home: that is, a detached dwelling containing only one dwelling unit – a group of two or more rooms, one of which is a kitchen. The Court of Appeal granted review, evaluating several interlocking definitions under the LA municipal code to reach a different conclusion.
Continue reading Chun v. Del Cid (2019) – Second District Court of Appeal Interprets LA Municipal Code To Find “Rooming House” No Longer Exempt as “Single Family Home” from Eviction Protections

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California Supreme Court Grants Review To Consider Propriety of “Delta Motion” Following Split of Authority

The California Supreme Court has granted review in the case Stancil v. Superior Court (Redwood City), to finally weigh in on the infamous Delta Motion to quash service of summons.

In 1983, the Second District Court of Appeal held that a motion to quash service of summons was an appropriate way to challenge the ability of a complaint for unlawful detainer to state a cause of action. The case was Delta Imports v. Municipal Court (Missimer), which led to the eponymous “Delta Motion”. As the reasoning goes, an unlawful detainer case receives a unique five-day summons (rather than the conventional thirty-day summons). Defendants generally demurrer to a complaint for failure to state a cause of action, but ordinarily, the plaintiff survives general demurrer if the complaint states a cause of action for something, even if they got the label wrong. But if a complaint fails to state a cause of action for unlawful detainer, it can’t be amended to state something else, as the cause of action is created by service of the notice.

That’s all well and good, but a motion to quash challenges jurisdiction, and there are no jurisdictional facts at issue because a plaintiff “failed to state” something, provided the defendant was properly served with a summons. And while courts have some flexibility in ruling on an improperly labeled motion, the difference between a motion to quash and a demurrer is significant. Demurrers essentially test what’s within the four corners of a complaint, but a motion to quash is an evidentiary motion. And motions to quash in unlawful detainer cases can be heard on as little as three days’ notice. So, essentially, these motions became vehicles to have mini trials on the final merits of a case, but before a plaintiff could serve discovery. Then, many tenant practitioners routinely petitioned for writ of mandate, ostensibly to review the denial, but practically as a method of stalling a “summary proceeding” for many months. The doctrine was legally fascinating but it allowed procedural abuse.

In 2015, the Second District revisited its reasoning in the case Borsuk v. Appellate Division, disapproving of the rationale in Delta Imports and opening the rule for interpretation. After all, “A decision of a court of appeal is not binding in the courts of appeal. One district or division may refuse to follow a prior decision of a different district or division.” McCallum v. McCallum (1987) 190 Cal. App. 3d 308, 316 FN.4. In a split of authority, the “dilemma will endure until the Supreme Court resolves the conflict, or the Legislature clears up the uncertainty by legislation”. McCallum, supra, 190 Cal. App. 3d at 316 FN.4.

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Justin Goodman Featured in SF Apartment Magazine Legal Q&A for April 2019

Justin Goodman was featured in the Legal Q&A for the April 2019 issue of SF Apartment Magazine – the official publication of the San Francisco Apartment Association.

Section 37.9(e) of the Rent Ordinance prevents tenants from waiving rights under the Rent Ordinance (with limited exceptions). In the April SFAA Q&A, Justin explored options when a tenant induces a landlord to enter a lease with an unenforceable promise by the tenant to move out when the landlord is ready to move into their home.


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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Justin Goodman Featured in SF Apartment Magazine Legal Q&A for March 2019

Justin Goodman was featured in the Legal Q&A for the March 2019 issue of SF Apartment Magazine – the official publication of the San Francisco Apartment Association.

Justin explained the minefield of seeking to use non-residential space (like parking or storage) to construct an Accessory Dwelling Unit, when that space is already being used by a tenant.


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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