LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A decision in the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles’ (AAGLA) Preliminary Injunction Motion against the City of Los Angeles was recently handed down by U.S. District Court Judge, Dean Pregerson. The motion which was heard by the Court on October 16, 2020 sought to immediately invalidate the City’s Eviction Ban and Rent Freeze Moratoria. AAGLA had previously filed its lawsuit against the City of Los Angeles in Federal Court this past June challenging the City’s eviction ban, prohibitions on late fees and interest, and moratorium on annual rent increases.
AAGLA’s Executive Director, Daniel Yukelson, stated:
“The decision by the lower District Court is certainly disappointing. We have always understood that this issue is a very difficult challenge, particularly at the trial court level where the existing precedent of prior appellate decisions does not squarely address the government’s response to such an unprecedented pandemic. But we are certain that the existing legal precedent compels an invalidation of the City’s moratoria and higher-level courts are in a far better position to address this. As a contingency for a possible unfavorable ruling, we have already prepared to quickly move our case along into the appeals process and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and if necessary, the U.S. Supreme Court where we feel certain to receive greater deference to our legal arguments and a greater chance of a favorable ruling.”
Yukelson further stated: “The U.S. District Court did agree with our argument that landlords’ contractual rights have been adversely impacted by the City’s eviction ban, and that landlords face reduced cash flow due to missed rent payments and increased wear and tear on rental properties.” In the 28-page decision issued by U.S. District Court Judge Pregerson, the Court found: “…it appears at this stage of proceedings that the City Moratorium substantially affects landlords’ contract rights.”
In his decision, Judge Pregerson called upon lawmakers to quickly construct a fair and equitable solution to the current situation being experienced by renters and housing providers alike. Expressing sympathy for the plight of Los Angeles landlords and the severe financial strain landlords find themselves in due to the City’s ordinance, Judge Pregerson’s decision further noted:
“Courts are an imperfect tool to resolve such conflicts. So too are ordinances and statutes that shift economic burdens from one group to another. The court respectfully implores our lawmakers to treat this calamity with the attention it deserves. It is, but for the shooting, a war in every real sense. Hundreds of thousands of tenants pitted against tens of thousands of landlords - that is the tragedy that brings us here. It is the court’s reverent hope, expressed with great respect for the magnitude of the task at hand, that our leaders, and not the courts, lead us to a speedy and fair solution.”
AAGLA is represented by attorney Douglas J. Dennington of Rutan & Tucker LLP of Costa Mesa. Mr. Dennington stated: “Broadly speaking, the Court agreed with most of our arguments and that landlords within the City of Los Angeles have been adversely impacted by the City’s moratoria. However, our arguments did not win out on some of the narrowest points of law, which we will surely be back to argue and win at a higher Court.”
From the very beginning, AAGLA has argued that the City’s eviction ban has gone way overboard in providing benefits to the City’s renters at the expense of all landlords, particularly the small “mom and pop” landlords making up the majority of housing providers within the City. AAGLA Board of Directors President, Earle Vaughan, stated: “Now more than nine months under the City’s eviction, there is still no ‘end date’ in all of this as our members and other landlords continue to suffer under the City’s ordinance. There’s been no assistance offered to help financially struggling housing providers who have been unilaterally forced to take on the burdens of housing the City’s renters.”
Board Member and incoming AAGLA President, Cheryl Turner, stated: “The Court’s decision is a disappointment, but not unexpected. The City has used the crisis to wield unbridled power and has singled-out rental property owners by interfering with contractual relationships between landlords and their tenants. The Court has left the door open for us by indicating that it would consider additional information. The City's concern about the plight of tenants may in fact be warranted, but must be the City’s and government’s responsibility to take the actions necessary to swiftly and effectively alleviate this crisis through rental assistance programs and through other government funded programs that support both the City’s renters and landlords during this unprecedented pandemic. Our fight is far from over and we will prove the City is clearly wrong here.”
The Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles seeks to promote the highest levels of professionalism within the multifamily rental housing industry. It accomplishes this objective by providing a wide array of educational seminars and member events throughout each year, by offering expert operational advice, and by supplying and maintaining virtually every conceivable agreement form and notice rental housing providers require to successfully own and manage rental properties. The Association also serves as a powerful advocate and lobbyist for rental housing providers at the local, county, state, and federal levels of government. Owning and operating rental housing today has become a highly regulated industry, and accordingly, owning and managing rental property has become far more challenging and riskier than ever before. Without an organization such as the Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, there would be no other voice fighting for the rights of property owners within city halls, county offices, and at state and federal capitols. AAGLA IS THE VOICE THAT EFFECTS CHANGE!