Until recently, local policies on homelessness have been guided by two controversial rulings from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals: Martin v. Boise (9th Cir. 2019) 920 F.3d 584 and Johnson v. City of Grants Pass (9th Cir. 2022) 50 F.4th 787.[1] However, the Supreme Court’s decision in City of Grants Pass v. Johnson (2024) 603 U.S. ____, is likely to transform local jurisdictions’ policy approaches to managing homelessness. In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the city’s ban on camping and parking overnight on public property.Continue Reading Supreme Court Holds That the Eighth Amendment Does Not Prevent Enforcement of Local Camping Bans, Authorizing a Significant Shift in Local Policies on Homelessness

In late June, the U.S. Supreme Court took an important step toward conscribing the power of federal agencies, abandoning the “Chevron doctrine” and its requirement that federal courts defer to agency interpretations of ambiguous federal statutes. The Court’s much-anticipated decision in Loper Bright Enters. v. Raimondo, Sec’y of Commerce and Relentless Inc. v. Dep’t of Commerce, 603 U.S. ___ (2024), requires federal courts to exercise independent judgement to interpret statutory language without deference to the agency responsible for implementing and enforcing the law. The Court’s opinion continues a trend toward less deferential judicial review of agency decision making and is expected to encourage a spate of challenges to federal regulations and other agency actions, potentially providing some relief for regulated businesses.Continue Reading Loper Bright and Relentless 101: What Regulated Businesses Need to Know at the Dawn of the Post-Chevron Era

The New York City Council voted to approve a modified version of the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity (“COYEO”) text amendment, the second in a trio of City of Yes initiatives which aim to: (1) promote sustainability (the City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality, which passed on December 6, 2023); (2) update the City’s zoning tools to support economic growth and resiliency (City of Yes for Economic Opportunity, which passed on June 6, 2024); and (3) spur the development of affordable housing (the City of Yes for Housing Opportunity, which entered public review on April 29, 2024).Continue Reading City Council Approves City of Yes for Economic Opportunity, with Modifications

Undoubtedly, development impact fees (DIFs)[1] can make or break the pro forma of any development project. Until this month, developers hoping to challenge the assessment of project-related DIFs were often limited in the causes of action that could be brought. For instance, in California, a DIF may be challenged under the Mitigation Fee Act (Govt. Code §§ 66000 et seq.), and only DIFs that were “imposed neither generally nor ministerially, but on an individual and discretionary basis” could invoke the Takings Clause embedded in the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.[2] This limitation on developers’ ability to utilize the Takings Clause meant that courts would not apply the “Nollan/Dolan test” to DIFs generally applicable to a broad class of property owners pursuant to legislative action.[3]Continue Reading What the Sheetz: Where California Development Impact Fees Stand Following Recent Supreme Court Decision

Creating certainty in the inherent uncertainty of the future is the name of the game when it comes to drafting commercial leases. When courts overrule provisions that the parties to the lease have agreed upon, however, that supposed certainty goes out the window. This fact pattern played out recently in Epochal Enterprises, Inc. v. LF Encinitas Properties, LLC (4th Dist., Case No. D079905) (“Epochal”), when the California Court of Appeal ruled that a limitation of liability clause in a lease that purported to release the landlord from liability for failing to disclose asbestos was against public policy and not enforceable.Continue Reading New Court Ruling Pokes Holes in Contractual Limitation of Liability Language in Commercial Leases

New York City’s rent-related laws have once again survived judicial scrutiny, and evaded Supreme Court review. In 74 Pinehurst LLC v. New York, a group of New York City landlords (“Petitioners”) filed suit in the District Court for the Eastern District of New York against the City and State of New York, the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal, New York City’s Rent Guidelines Board, and multiple state and New York City officials (“Respondents”), seeking a declaration that New York City’s Rent Stabilization Law, as amended in 2019 (“RSL”), violates the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Respondents moved to dismiss, which the Eastern District Court granted. On appeal, the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the motion to dismiss, and on February 20, 2024, the Supreme Court denied Petitioners’ petition for certiorari, declining to review the RSL.Continue Reading SCOTUS Declines to Review New York City’s Rent Stabilization Law

The California State Legislature is considering Assembly Bill (AB) 2216, a measure introduced by Assemblymember Matt Haney, that would force landlords to permit pets in residential rental properties. Specifically, the proposed legislation restricts a landlord from barring a tenant from owning or keeping a common household pet without valid justification. The bill also prevents landlords from charging tenants extra rent or security deposits for owning or keeping a common household pet. However, these restrictions do not apply to rental agreements signed before January 1, 2025.Continue Reading Unleashing AB 2216: Will Fido Have a Leg Up on Landlords?

Brooke Miller and Shannon Mandich’s article “Adapting Underutilized Commercial Spaces for Residential Redevelopment: New Tools and Challenges” was recently featured in the NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Magazine Spring 2024 Issue. The article discusses the tools and challenges of adopting underutilized commercial spaces for residential redevelopment. This article sheds light on the pros and cons of adaptive reuse and California’s support of adaptive reuse through various California state laws such as Senate Bill 6, the Middle Class Housing Act of 2022, Assembly Bill 2011, and the Affordable Housing and High Road Jobs Act of 2022.Continue Reading Adapting Underutilized Commercial Spaces for Residential Redevelopment: New Tools and Challenges

On February 7, 2024, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (the “Proposed Rule”) designed to combat and deter money laundering in the U.S. residential real estate sector, which has made it difficult for legitimate buyers to acquire real estate due in part to inflated prices resulting from an increase in buyers and the ability of those additional buyers to make “all cash” offers using ill-gained funds in lieu of financing. The public comment period for the Proposed Rule expires on April 8, 2024.[1]Continue Reading FinCEN Proposes New Rule to Deter Money Laundering in the Residential Real Estate Sector

Jodi Stein, Eva C. Schneider and Samuel Zarkower’s article “We Say ‘YES’ to the ‘City of Yes’ for Economic Opportunity” was recently featured in the New York Law Journal. The article discusses the City of Yes for Economic Opportunity (COYEO), the second in a trio of Mayor Eric Adams’s City of Yes initiatives to revamp New York City’s Zoning Resolution. This article describes the 18 proposals the comprise COYEO, which aim to support economic growth and resiliency by (1) making it easier for businesses to find space within the city and grow their operations; (2) supporting growing industries; (3) making business-friendly streetscapes that are safer and more walkable; and (4) creating new opportunities for businesses to open and expand.Continue Reading We Say ‘YES’ to the ‘City of Yes’ for Economic Opportunity