City of West Hollywood v. Kihagi
Facts: A residential landlord evicts their tenants and removes the property from the rental market. The landlord later rents a unit on the property to a new tenant without first offering it to the previous tenant, as forbidden by the Ellis Act provisions of the city’s rent stabilization ordinance.
Claim: The city seeks to prohibit the landlord from re-renting units on the property for ten years, claiming the landlord is violating a local rent stabilization ordinance since they re-rented a previously vacated unit without first offering it to the previous tenant.
Counterclaim: The landlord claims a ten-year ban on re-renting the units is unenforceable since it violates the Ellis Act.
Holding: A California court of appeals holds the city may prohibit the landlord from re-renting the unit for ten years without first offering it to the previous tenant since the landlord violated the rent stabilization ordinance by not complying with the Ellis Act. [City of West Hollywood v. Kihagi (September 29, 2017)_CA5th_]
Editor’s note — The city rent stabilization ordinance’s Ellis Act provisions prohibit a landlord from evicting a tenant to re-rent the unit at higher market rate by requiring them to first offer the unit to the previous tenant when re-renting. While the city may not entirely ban the owner from re-renting for ten years, the owner may not re-rent the units without complying with these provisions.