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New Laws Aimed to Protect Tenants Gets Challenged in Court

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Two separate lawsuits have been filed against San Francisco today to challenge two new laws which aim to protect tenants and rental units. The two ordinances, both sponsored by Supervisor John Avalos, were passed by the Board of Supervisors and signed by Mayor Ed Lee in December. They went into effect on January 25. One doesn't let landlords combine apartment units for 10 years if a tenant had been evicted under the state's Ellis Act, and the other prohibits combining units (to create one big super unit) for five years if a tenant had to be evicted for an owner move-in. A lawyer speaking for the San Francisco Apartment Association, Coalition for Better Housing, and the San Francisco Association of Realtors said the first law "unfairly takes away the right of individuals and families who simply want to create a home for themselves and their family in a building they own." The second lawsuit was filed by the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute, and claims that the second law violates the Ellis Act and the constitutional due process rights of property owners. "This legislation punishes families who move into their own buildings, " said institute President Noni Richen. "It could cause thousands of lawful housing units to sit vacant while the city denies permits for basic upkeep." A spokesman for the City Attorney had no immediate comment because they "just received the lawsuits."
· Landlord And Realtor Groups File Lawsuits To Block Laws Intended To Protect Tenants [SF Appeal]