18 JANUARY 2019 • WWW.AAGLA.ORG Member Update RENTAL PROPERTY OWNERS SUE CITY OF OAKLAND OVER MANDATED RELOCATION PAYMENTS Lyndsey and Sharon Ballinger filed a lawsuit against the City of Oakland to challenge the constitutionality of the city’s ordinance that requires payment of relocation payments to renters before owners can repossess their property for their own use. Similar ordinances have been enacted by many other cities throughout California. The Ballingers, both active duty in the United States Air Force, rented their single-family home in Oakland when they were temporarily transferred by the Air Force from California to Washington, D.C. in 2015. Anticipating their return to California in approximately three years, the Ballingers’ lease agreement was set to end in September 2017 and then convert to a month-to-month tenancy. In 2018, nearly three years after the Ballingers entered into the lease agreement with their renters, the City of Oakland enacted the ordinance. When the Ballingers received their orders from the Air Force to return to the Bay Area, they gave notice to their renters that their month-to-month tenancy was ending. It was at that same time that the Ballingers discovered they would be subject to the City of Oakland ordinance and would be required to pay their renters more than $6,000 in relocation costs. This was a substantial amount for a couple on a meager military salary to have to pay to a couple of young high-tech executive renters. The Ballingers’ lawsuit challenges the City of Oakland ordinance and the mandated relocation payments (which, although the ordinance provides the payments are for “relocation,” they can be used by the renters for anything). The Ballingers’ complaint alleges that the city’s ordinance is unconstitutional and illegal under the “Takings Clause” of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Due Process Clause of Article 1, Section 10, and under the Ellis Act. Under the 1984 California law known as Ellis Act, property owners have the right to remove their properties from the residential rental market when they wish. Apartment Age Magazine will continue to monitor this lawsuit and provide its readers with updates on important developments.