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What’s a “Good Faith” Owner or Relative Move-In Eviction? Recent Court Rulings Explore OMI/RMI’s, But Following The Letter Of The Law Might Not Be Enough To Avoid A Lawsuit

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Two recent opinions on owner and relative move-in evictions analyze the murky area of “good faith”.
Continue reading What’s a “Good Faith” Owner or Relative Move-In Eviction? Recent Court Rulings Explore OMI/RMI’s, But Following The Letter Of The Law Might Not Be Enough To Avoid A Lawsuit

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AB 1399 (2019): Heightened Regulations for Returning to the Rental Market Following Ellis Act Withdrawal

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AB 1399 is the product of Assemblymember Bloom’s efforts to prevent the perceived exploitation of the Ellis Act’s re-rental provisions by infamous landlord Anne Kihagi. (A 2017 Appellate decision found that she was not prohibited from re-renting in compliance with the Ellis Act by a stipulated settlement with the City of West Hollywood, and it condoned her re-rentals, to the extent they conformed to the law.)

AB 1399 amends the Ellis Act in three ways. First, a landlord was previously required to give a displaced-tenant the first right of refusal on re-renting a unit returned to the market within ten years of withdrawal. The existing penalty was punitive damages equal to six months of the contract rent. AB 1399 amends this to say that paying the penalty does not extinguish the owner’s obligation to honor the tenant’s rights.

Second, it aligns the dates of withdrawal for all units. The Ellis Act requires a 120-day notice period before the units are withdrawn. Qualified tenants are entitled to an extension. For other tenants, the landlord was permitted to grant an extension (to maintain rental income for each unit until all were withdrawn). This could result in two different categories of withdrawal dates, if the owner did not elect to extend non-qualified tenancies. Under AB 1399, the “date of withdrawal” (for purposes of tracking the post-withdrawal constraints) is the latest date of withdrawal of any unit.

Finally, it allows cities to require that a landlord returning any unit to the rental market during the period of constraints to return each unit, unless it was the principal place of residence to an owner or family member before withdrawal or it is the principal place of residence of an owner when the accommodations are returned to the market.

Even when these changes become effective on January 1, 2020, they will not immediately affect owners who have withdrawn from the residential rental market. Authorized provisions of the Ellis Act may be implemented by local governments but are not required. It is also currently unclear whether this will apply to re-rentals for properties withdrawn prior to AB 1399.

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

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

Justin explained tenants’ rights with respect to their “housing services”, and some of the common reasons landlords are interested in recovering rights to things like parking spaces.


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 September 2019

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

Justin explored the difference between “late fees” and rent in explaining what kinds of late fees are actually enforceable and how a landlord would be wise to demand the rent portion only, when serving a three-day notice to pay rent or quit.


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 August 2019

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

Justin discussed whether a rent increase of 15% on a single family home would constitute “rent gouging”.


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 July 2019

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

Justin explored some of the problems landlords face in the gray area between “housing services” and “nuisance eviction” when a tenant insists upon a particular use of the property that is incompatible with health and safety law (in this case, blocking fire egress with off-street moped parking).


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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HERO v. City of Los Angeles (2019): Relevant Baseline for CEQA Analysis Properly Evaluated a Property Already Withdrawn under the Ellis Act and Therefore Properly Excluded Evidence of Impact on Housing and Population

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The City was not required to prepare an EIR to address the Project’s alleged impact on the loss of rent-stabilized housing units or the displacement of tenants because the property previously had been withdrawn from the rental market pursuant to the Ellis Act; under CEQA the assessment of impacts of a proposed project ordinarily is based on conditions as they exist at the time the environmental analysis is commenced.

Hollywoodians Encouraging Rental Opportunities v. City of Los Angeles affirmed a trial court’s determination that an EIR was not required under CEQA to evaluate impacts of tenant displacement for a property withdrawn from the rental market under the Ellis Act.

When a developer sought to convert an 18 unit apartment building into a 24 guestroom boutique hotel, a neighborhood association (Hollywoodians Encouraging Rental Opportunities (“HERO”)) appealed approval of the permit. The City Council denied the appeal, so the association petitioned the superior court for writ of mandate to reverse the City Council’s decision.
Continue reading HERO v. City of Los Angeles (2019): Relevant Baseline for CEQA Analysis Properly Evaluated a Property Already Withdrawn under the Ellis Act and Therefore Properly Excluded Evidence of Impact on Housing and Population

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Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC attends Barristers Club 35th Annual Judges Reception Honoring Judge Curtis Karnow

Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, PC attended the Barristers Club 35th Annual Judges Reception. This year, the Club presented its 2019 Tara L. Riedley Barristers Choice Award to Judge Curtis Karnow. Judge Karnow was recently reelected, shortly after receiving the highest rating of the Bar Association’s Judiciary Committee. He is also a co-author of the indispensable “Civil Procedure Before Trial” Rutter Guide.

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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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