Claims Rely on Misapplication of the Law

In New Brief, Groups Highlight Decades of Legal Precedent Affirming Cities’ Ability to Regulate the Rental Housing Market and Protect Tenants

Washington, D.C. — Late Friday, the Eviction Defense Collaborative, Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition, AIDS Legal Referral Panel, Alliance for Justice, Western Center on Law and Poverty, National Housing Law Project, and the Appleseed Foundation and affiliated Centers in four states filed a brief in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco urging the court to reject efforts to misapply the law and limit the ability of communities to necessarily regulate the housing market.

Democracy Forward and the signers of this brief released the following joint statement after filing:

“San Francisco’s Expedited Conversion Program (ECP), which permits landlords to voluntarily convert their buildings into valuable condominiums, protects vulnerable tenants from eviction following condo conversion. Not only is it legal, but also it avoids mass displacement of tenants in one of the country’s most expensive rental housing markets. Arguments to the contrary are dangerous – if accepted, they would seriously threaten cities’ ability to protect tenants from displacement. Any claim that the program violates the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause flies in the face of decades of legal precedent affirming cities’ ability to regulate the rental housing market and protect tenants. Using the Supreme Court’s recent Cedar Point decision to argue that the ECP is unconstitutional is at its core an effort to weaken the ability of local authorities to protect renters and their communities. We urge the court to reject this blatant misapplication of the law.”

Takings Clause challenges to regulations of the landlord-tenant relationship are subject to a fact-specific inquiry that courts have applied for decades. The groups’ brief, filed by Democracy Forward, explains that the recent Supreme Court decision in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid preserves cities’ and counties’ authority to regulate the local housing market and prevent tenant displacement – and that efforts to apply this decision to the landlord-tenant context should be rejected.

A copy of the brief is available here.


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Emily Singer
Democracy Forward