San Francisco’s Expedited Conversion Program protects vulnerable tenants from eviction following condo conversion. Right wing interests have attacked the program in court, seeking to improperly expand a recent Supreme Court case (Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid) and potentially jeopardizing housing and other protections for millions. Not only is the program 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.
On behalf of a broad coalition of organizations dedicated to promoting just access to safe and affordable housing, we filed a brief in Pakdel v. City and County of San Francisco on behalf of 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 urging the court to reject efforts to misapply the law and limit the ability of communities to necessarily regulate the housing market.
This week, the court ruled in the case and referred to our brief in its decision rejecting the application of Cedar Point Nursery to this context. The ruling is an important step forward in preventing the dangerous Cedar Point Nursery decision from being misused as a means to attack housing rights.