Southern District of New York Upholds New York City Council COVID-19 Tenant Protection Ordinances

On November 25, 2020, Judge Ronnie Abrams of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a decision in Melendez, et al. v. The City of New York, et al. (No. 20-CV-5301 (RA) upholding amendments to certain New York City Council ordinances prohibiting landlords from harassing residential and commercial tenants impacted by COVID-19 and preventing landlords from enforcing personal guaranties in commercial leases if the tenant’s monetary default was caused by the pandemic. Continue Reading

Federal Judge Blocks Eviction Moratorium Challenge by Los Angeles Apartment Owners

City of Los Angeles apartment owners recently lost their bid in Federal Court to halt the application of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s eviction moratorium[1] and rent freeze ordinance[2] (the “City Moratorium”). Senior United States District Judge Dean D. Pregerson ruled on November 13, 2020 that the apartment owners had failed to show “irreparable harm” because (a) there was no immediate threat of foreclosure, and (b) the City Moratorium appeared to be “imminently reasonable” in the context of the unprecedented pandemic.[3]

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Regional Stay at Home Order Implemented in California

Late last week, in an effort to control the increase of COVID-19 cases and stabilize the overwhelming hospital systems,[1] California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a new Regional Stay At Home Order (December Order) based on Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed capacity.  Under the December Order, if the available ICU capacity dips below 15% in any of the 5 designated regions, said region will be placed into a stay-at-home order.  Such order will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. following the day the region hits the ICU threshold, and will continue until the region’s total available adult ICU bed capacity is greater than or equal to 15% projected over 4 weeks.  If the December Order is in effect in a region, it supersedes any conflicting terms in other California Department of Public Health order, directive or guidance.  Once the stay-at-home order lifts for any impacted region, the December Order will no longer apply and each county in said region will be assigned to a tier based on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Continue Reading

California Property Tax Changes to Parent-Child Exclusion

Recently passed Proposition 19 will seriously limit the ability to transfer California real property to a child without causing a reassessment and higher property taxes. The new law takes effect February 16, 2021, so if you want to and are able to take steps to preserve this benefit it is important that you act immediately. Continue Reading

Los Angeles County Restricts In-Person Dining Due to Surge in COVID-19 Cases

Due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“L.A. Public Health”) announced that all outdoor and indoor dining at restaurants, breweries and wineries will be restricted, effective November 25, 2020 at 10:00 p.m., while take-out, drive thru, and delivery services may continue (“Order”). Continue Reading

SCOTUS to Consider Whether California Unconstitutionally “Takes” Private Property When It Compels Employers to Grant Union Access to Private Property

When it comes to whether unions have a right to enter an employer’s premises over the employer’s objections, California’s law is the polar opposite of the National Labor Relations Act and the law in most other states.  In California, unions generally have special access rights that nonlabor parties do not have.  Unions are given preferential treatment because of the state’s union-friendly public policies.  However, this may soon change due to the Supreme Court’s recent order granting a hearing in Cedar Point Nursery et. al. v. Hassid where the issue presented is: Continue Reading

The Results Are In – California State and Local Tax Ballot Measures

On November 3, 2020, California voters decided a number of state and local tax-related ballot measures.[1]  The most significant tax increase, the property tax “split roll” initiative, and some other local tax increases were defeated.  However, overall voters were willing to approve a number of meaningful tax increases—especially San Francisco voters.  Following is an overview of statewide and notable local tax measures and referrals decided by the voters. Continue Reading

Significant Changes to State CEQA Filing and Noticing Requirements and Procedures

Two significant changes to California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) noticing and filing requirements and procedures recently took effect.  First, on September 23, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-80-20 (“Order“), which conditionally suspends certain requirements for filing, noticing, and posting of CEQA documents with county clerk offices.  The Order provides an alternate means of complying with those requirements during the current pandemic, and extends the prior suspension by Executive Order N-54-20.[1]  It will remain in effect until it is modified or rescinded, or until the COVID-related State of Emergency instituted on March 4, 2020 is terminated, whichever occurs sooner. Continue Reading

California Voters Reject Ballot Measures Related to Rent Control and Property Tax

While the results are yet to be certified, it is clear, a week after Election Day, that Californians have rejected both Proposition 15 – The California Schools and Local Communities Act of 2020 (“Prop. 15”)[1] and Proposition 21 – Rental Affordability Act (“Prop. 21”).[2]  Despite this most recent response from the electorate, it is likely that real property tax “reform” and rent control will continue to be a topic of conversation during the next legislative cycle and appear on future ballots. Continue Reading

SB 1079: Changes to Nonjudicial Foreclosure Process Aim to Benefit Tenants, Primary Residence Occupants and Community Groups; Uncertainty Looms for Lenders and Debtors

After the recent passage of Senate Bill 1079 (“SB 1079”), significant changes to the nonjudicial foreclosure process will go into effect on January 1, 2021 for real properties containing 1 to 4 single-family residences. Establishing new rights for tenants and community groups, SB 1079 amends Sections 2929.3 and 2924 of the California Civil Code. Originally nicknamed “Homes for Homeowners, Not Corporations,” the new requirements and rights will fundamentally extend the foreclosure process, with the goal of allowing more foreclosed properties to end up in the hands of individuals and nonprofit organizations engaged in the development and preservation of affordable housing. Continue Reading

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