ELS Fails in California ‘Rent-Control’ Case

April 18, 2013 by   - () Comments Off on ELS Fails in California ‘Rent-Control’ Case

Industry leader loses court case

Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (ELS), the nation’s largest owner and operator of RV parks and manufactured housing communities, has lost a rent control case in California.

The Marin Independent Journal reported that a federal appeals court Wednesday (April 17) delivered a legal victory to the city of San Rafael, overturning a lower court decision and ruling that the city’s Contempo Marin mobile home park rent control ordinance is constitutional.

“This is a tremendous victory for the city, the residents of Contempo Marin and the city council,” City Attorney Rob Epstein said. “We knew the law was on our side.”

In an opinion written by circuit Judge Sidney Thomas, the court ruled San Rafael’s ordinance doesn’t constitute a government “taking” of private property as alleged by Chicago-based ELS, which owns the 396-unit Contempo Marin mobile home park in north San Rafael.

The decision overturns a 2009 ruling by U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who concluded the city’s ordinance violated the Fifth Amendment clause against such takings.

San Francisco attorney Michael von Loewenfeldt, who represented the city in the case, said it has been more than 12 years since the initial lawsuit against the city was filed. He said it’s nice to finally get validation for the city and its residents.

“I think this court really understood that you can’t buy rent-controlled property and then complain about rent control,” von Loewenfeldt said.

ELS representatives could not be reached for comment on the decision Wednesday.

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