Effect Of Larson Court Of Appeal Decision On Prop. M

On February 23, 2011 the California Court of Appeal issued a decision in Larson v. CCSF that invalidated certain provisions of the Rent Ordinance that were added by Proposition M approved by the voters in 2008. Specifically, the court found that the Rent Board could not order rent reductions for the conduct specified in Ordinance section 37.10B(a)(4)-(15) since such conduct may result in damages that can be collected in court, but are not  decreased housing services for which the Board may authorize rent reductions. The court did not see a similar problem with the conduct specified in section 37.10B(a)(1)-(3).

The court also invalidated two other provisions of Prop M. First, the court found that section 37.10B(a)(7), which prohibited the landlord from continuing to offer payments to vacate after the tenant notified the landlord in writing that the tenant no longer wanted to receive further offers of payment to vacate, violated the landlord's First Amendment right of freedom of speech, and was unenforceable. Second, the court found that section 37.10B(c)(6), which provided for the award of attorney fees to a tenant who is a prevailing party in an eviction action, was preempted by state unlawful detainer law and was therefore unenforceable.

There is also a federal court challenge to Prop M still pending in the Ninth Circuit in Carrico v. CCSF, in which the plaintiffs have appealed the district court's dismissal of constitutional challenges to Prop M.