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.
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).
Assemblymember Chiu’s AB 2343 is signed into law, extending three important deadlines in the unlawful detainer statutes by excluding “Saturdays, Sundays and judicial holidays”. Effective September 1, 2019, both three day notices to pay rent or quit and three day notices to cure breach or quit will no longer include these “off days” in calculating their deadlines.
Under current law, a notice served on a Wednesday would count Thursday (day 1) and Friday (day 2), however, they cannot expire on a holiday/weekend, so the “third” day would be Monday. At least with payment of rent, this rule makes sense, because a tenant may need to go to a bank to obtain funds. (Still, this calendaring has arguably led to confusion and harsh results for some.)
The amended unlawful detainer statutes will also exclude these off days when counting the response date to the unlawful detainer five-day summons.
“The litigation privilege is ‘not without limit’, as the Action Apartment court took pains to point out. (Action Apartment, supra, 41 Cal.4th at p. 1242.) Because recognition of the privilege here would neuter section 1942.5 by removing eviction from the statutory remedy of retaliatory eviction, we view the clash between section 47, subdivision (b), on the one hand, and section 1942.5, subdivisions (d) and (h), on the other, as irreconcilable. To be consistent with the high court’s guidance that we give section 1942.5 a liberal construction designed to achieve the legislative purpose, we conclude that the litigation privilege must yield to it.”
In Winslett v. 1811 27th Avenue, LLC (2018), a former tenant filed a complaint against a landlord for retaliation and retaliatory eviction, under Section 1942.5 of the Civil Code, as well as violations of Oakland’s just cause for eviction ordinance. The trial court granted the landlord’s anti-SLAPP motion to strike. The tenant appealed the trial court’s ruling that the litigation privilege barred the retaliation claims and that her claims under the eviction control ordinance were based on protected activity under the anti-SLAPP statute. The Court of Appeal agreed and reversed.
Continue reading Division Four of First District Court of Appeal Harmonizes Litigation Privilege with Tenant Anti-Retaliation Statute in Winslett v. 1811 27th Avenue, LLC
Update: Division Five has certified Coyne v. De Leo for publication.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports on a recent unpublished ruling from Division Five of the First District Court of Appeal, reversing a judgment in favor of an Ellis Act-invoking landlord, on the basis that the trial court improperly excluded evidence of a “sham transfer”.
The Ellis Act requires property owners to withdraw all “accommodations” (i.e., residential rental units) from the market and to terminate all such tenancies. A landlord may not terminate some accommodations and leave others. (This is a common sense rule that allows a landlord to “go out of business” but not to evade rent control by evicting low-paying tenants and keep the market rate ones.)
In Coyne v. De Leo, the owner (Coyne) invoked the Ellis Act on a four-unit building with a single “tenant”. Other units were occupied by family members and friends – including one friend, Maria Esclamado, who was a former tenant until Coyne made her an owner so that she could participate in the Ellis withdrawal and remain in her home.
The tenant (De Leo) wanted to introduce evidence about this “transfer of ownership” to the jury. He argued that the transfer – with seller financing, a monthly payment conspicuously similar to the former “rent” payment, and an eventual “quitclaim deed” back to Coyne when she moved – was suspicious.
The Chronicle quoted Coyne’s attorney, Justin Goodman, as saying that Esclamado “received title to the property and had all the benefits of title” while “Martin (Coyne) took all the risks”, predicting that Coyne would prevail at a retrial even with the evidence that was previously barred.
San Francisco has passed Supervisor Fewer’s proposal to eliminate “debt servicing” passthroughs to tenant’s rental rates. In general, a landlord can only increase the rent for tenants in rent-controlled apartments by a limited amount (which, in San Francisco, is a 60% of the increase in the consumer price index, as published by the US Dept. of Labor, in the preceding year). As of this post, for instance, this “annual allowable increase” is 1.6% of the tenant’s “base rent”.
To avoid confiscatory results of price controls, however, the Rent Ordinance has allowed additional increases based on things like utilities, taxes, capital improvements and… debt servicing. However, Supervisor Fewer aimed to close a perceived loophole in this rule, where owners would load a property with debt for the specific purpose of increasing the rental rate.
Ordinance 132-18 amends Rent Ordinance Section 37.8 (“Arbitration of Rental Rate Adjustments”) to prohibit rent increases based on increased debt.
Oakland now regulates agreements between landlords and tenants to pay consideration to voluntarily vacate rental units (commonly known as a “buyout agreement”). Oakland joins Los Angeles, Berkeley, Santa Monica and San Francisco in enacting these regulations.
As with other jurisdictions, registration is a two-step process, where the landlord provides a pre-move out disclosure to the tenant and then executes a “negotiation disclosure” to file with the Rent Adjustment Program prior to commencing negotiations.
Tenants have a right to rescind for 25 days after execution (which may be as short as 15 days, if agreed to by the parties), and they must receive notification of the context of these negotiations and agreements, like the fact that they would receive relocation assistance payments for non-fault evictions, that rent on the open market is generally higher, and that buyout payments may be taxable.