This article was posted on Monday, Dec 01, 2014

The Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) challenged San Francisco’s new “Relocation Assistance Payment Ordinance,” because it required rental property owners to pay their tenants oppressive and unconstitutional sums of money before the owners can regain personal use of their property — money the tenants can use for any private purpose they wish.


PLF attorneys filed the challenge on behalf of homeowners Daniel and Maria Levin, a married couple who own a small two-unit house on Lombard Street.  They live in the upper unit, but were effectively denied the right to take occupancy of the lower unit, because of the costly payment — $117,000, in their case — required by the new ordinance.

Daniel and Maria Levin are breathing a huge sigh of relief – the $118,000 ransom demand by the City of San Francisco‘s Tenant Relocation Ordinance, no longer hangs over their heads thanks to a Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) lawsuit.

In a major ruling, affirming the property rights of the Levins and scores of other property owners, U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer on October 21 sided with PLF’s arguments and declared the dangerous ordinance as unconstitutional.

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“This is a great victory for every San Franciscan who owns any kind of home or property, small or large, and for everyone who values property rights as a fundamental freedom,” said PLF Principal Attorney J. David Breemer, the lead attorney in PLF’s challenge to the relocation-payment mandate. 

 “By striking down this confiscatory law, Judge Breyer’s ruling makes it clear that government can’t force people to stay in the rental-property business against their will.  And government can’t force owners to pay a massive ransom in order to make use of their own property.” 

Donor-supported Pacific Legal Foundation ( is the leading watchdog organization that litigates for limited government, property rights, individual rights, and free enterprise, in courts nationwide. PLF represents all clients free of charge.  For more information, visit






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