Justia U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Landlord - Tenant
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The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (FHAA) does not require landlords to accommodate the disability of an individual who neither entered into a lease nor paid rent in exchange for the right to occupy the premises.The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the City, in an action brought by plaintiff against the City for wrongful eviction based on several theories of state law implied tenancy. The panel held that the FHAA applies to rentals only when the landlord or his designee has received consideration in exchange for granting the right to occupy the premises. As to occupants requesting accommodation, the panel held that the FHAA's disability discrimination provisions apply only to cases involving a "sale" or "rental" for which the landlord accepted consideration in exchange for granting the right to occupy the premises. Applying a federal standard rather than California landlord-tenant law, the panel concluded that because plaintiff never provided consideration in exchange for the right to occupy Spot 57, the FHAA was inapplicable to his claim for relief. Furthermore, the City was not obligated to provide, offer, or discuss an accommodation. View "Salisbury v. City of Santa Monica" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' 42 U.S.C. 1983 action alleging that certain provisions of the City of San Jose's 2017 Ordinance and implementing regulations, pertaining to the City's Apartment Rent Ordinance, violated plaintiffs' Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as the Contracts Clause. The challenged provisions of the Ordinance and Regulations require landlords to disclose information about rent stabilized units to the City and condition landlords' ability to increase rents on providing that information.The panel held that plaintiffs have not plausibly alleged that the challenged provisions effect a search and thus their Fourth Amendment claim fails. In this case, plaintiffs offered no factual allegations plausibly suggesting that they maintain a reasonable expectation of privacy in information that, generally speaking, they already disclose to the City in other contexts. The panel also held that plaintiffs failed to raise a colorable Fifth Amendment takings claim, a Contracts Clause claim, an equal protection claim, and substantive and procedural due process claims. Finally, the Ordinance does not violate the "unconstitutional conditions" doctrine as enunciated in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District, 570 U.S. 595 (2013). View "Hotop v. City of San Jose" on Justia Law

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The Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1996 (FCIA) does not limit injunctive relief against an executive branch officer enforcing a court order, and the Sheriff in this case was not entitled to immunity from plaintiffs' request for declaratory and injunctive relief. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of a class action challenging the constitutionality of Washington Revised Code 59.18.375, which allows tenants to be evicted from their homes without a court hearing. The panel held that original plaintiffs had standing to sue at the time they filed this action, which was the relevant time frame for analyzing Article III standing; plaintiffs who were subsequently added to the action did not have standing to sue because their circumstances left their prospects of injury too speculative to support Article III standing; and, even after original plaintiffs settled their dispute with their landlord, the action was not moot because the dispute was capable of repetition, yet evading review.On the merits, the panel held that the district court misread the statute and that the text of section 375 makes clear that a hearing was not mandatory; the Rooker-Feldman doctrine did not apply because plaintiffs were not asking the district court to review and reject the judgment entered against them in state court; the Sheriff's two alternative arguments for affirmance of the district court's judgment -- that the action must be brought under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and that the Sheriff was entitled to qualified immunity -- lacked merit; and the Sheriff's remaining arguments were without merit. Accordingly, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Moore v. Urquhart" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment on the pleadings in an action challenging a city ordinance that limits the rights of landlords to commence and conduct buyout negotiations. The panel held that the Ordinance did not prevent plaintiffs, an individual property owner and several landlord organizations, from commencing buyout negotiations if a tenant refuses to sign the disclosure form; the Disclosure Provision did not violate plaintiffs' First Amendment rights; the creation of a publicly searchable database of buyout agreements did not violate landlords' right to privacy under the California Constitution; the Ordinance did not violate landlords' rights to equal protection or due process; and the Condominium Conversion Provision did not violate landlords' "liberty of contract." View "San Francisco Apartment Assoc. v. City and County of San Francisco" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, four landlords, challenged the constitutionality of the City's Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP). The Housing Department places property into REAP when a landlord fails to repair habitability violations and tenants pay a reduced rent. The court concluded that placing plaintiffs' property into REAP did not violate plaintiffs' substantive due process rights where REAP served legitimate governmental goals and was rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose; plaintiffs' procedural challenge could not support an as-applied substantive due process claim; and denial of leave to amend the complaint was not an abuse of discretion. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint. View "Sylvia Landfield Trust v. City of Los Angeles" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sought injunctive relief and damages against the Bank after it filed an unlawful detainer action against her in state court without giving 90 days notice to vacate the foreclosed property. At issue on appeal was whether the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (PTFA), Pub. L. No. 111-22, 701-04, 123 Stat. 1632, 1660-62, provided a private right of action. The court concluded that dismissal of the state unlawful detainer proceedings did not moot plaintiff's claim; the court agreed with the Third Circuit that the regulation of eviction proceedings "does not implicate an important state interest" under Younger v. Harris; but plaintiff had no cognizable interest under the PTFA. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint. View "Logan v. U.S. Bank" on Justia Law

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Appellants appealed the district court's order awarding them attorney fees following settlement of their claims against appellees brought under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. 3601-3619, and California law. At issue was whether the district court erred by deducting some of the hours billed and lowered the hourly rates requested by appellants. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion either by relying, in part, on its own knowledge and experience, or by setting an hourly rate of $350 for appellants' lawyers. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed.