|Read the CAA Legal Briefing.
CAA Prevails: Appellate Court Rules Rental Property Owners do not have to Participate in Section 8 Voucher Program
Issue: Is an owner required to accept a Section 8 voucher from a disabled tenant?
Status: Victory. In April, the Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the property owner, holding that the owner is not required to accept the tenant’s section 8 voucher. CAA filed an Amicus Brief in this case. Oral argument focused on two issues: (1) Does the prohibition against “source of income” discrimination require an owner to participate in the Section 8 program? and (2) Is it a “reasonable accommodation” for the owner to be required to take this resident’s voucher, when she has been a tenant for years, and her sons, who are also on the lease (but reside elsewhere) have always paid the rent? The Court ruled that Section 8 vouchers do not fall within the protections of the “source of income” provisions of California law and that, under the facts of this case, the owner was not required to take the voucher as an accommodation for the tenant’s disability.
Department of Fair Employment and Housing v. Jeannette Prichard
Issues: There are two issues here: (1) What is the meaning of “aiding and abetting” a housing provider in discriminating on the basis of familial status under Government Code Section 12955(g); and, (2) who can be liable for, “statements of preference” under Government Code Section 12955(c)?
Status: Victory. The Fair Employment and Housing Commission’s January 27, 2010, decision dismissed the entire accusation against Ms. Pritchard. Read CAA's Amicus Brief.
Rent Control – Unconstitutional Taking of Property through Regulation. Guggenheim v. City of Goleta
Issue: Can a property owner or investor who acquires real estate subject to significant government regulations effectively ever seek compensation for the impact of that regulation?
This case addresses the validity of a mobile home rent control ordinance adopted in 2002, which imposed space rents at 20 percent of fair market rents. The Ninth Circuit Panel, which heard the case concluded that this kind of economic confiscation, designed to meet the purposes of affordable housing, requires compensation. In essence, the Panel concluded the City had effectively confiscated the property for the public purpose of affordable housing. The federal 9th Circuit Court of Appeal issued a ruling in the park owner's favor in September 2009. The City petitioned for an en banc (full court) review before the entire 9th Circuit, which was granted. CAA anticipates filing an amicus brief in late May. Read CAA's Draft Brief.
Credit Reporting – Duties of Credit Information Furnishers and Enforcement. FIA Financial Services v. Gorman
Issues: There are two issues here: (1) Does the “furnisher” of credit information violate the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act when that furnisher, who has conducted a “reasonable investigation” upon receiving notice of a disputed debt, continues to report the debt without any notation of the dispute? and (2) Whether the private right of action created in state law is preempted by federal law (i.e., is enforcement of this provision limited to the state and federal government, or may a private party bring a claim)?
The United States Supreme Court is considering whether to take this case, which deals with the duties of credit information “furnishers” and the interaction between state and federal laws. The case is of concern to CAA not only due to the potential liability of landlords as furnishers of credit information, but also because of the chilling effect that allowing private lawsuits would have on furnishers generally – which would, over time, reduce the availability of information needed by landlords in order to properly screen tenants. CAA filed a letter brief, urging review in the Supreme Court in April.