Appeals Court Sides With Landlords Over Tenant Fees

by Chris on April 10, 2017

The California Court of Appeals has sided with landlords in a lawsuit brought to challenge a San Francisco ordinance that would have required hefty relocation fees to tenants should the landlord decide to retire a rental property.

That ordinance was the latest in a series of controversial measures passed by the city aimed at discouraging landlords from taking units out of service. It would have required landlords to pay tenants the difference between their stabilized rent and market rent in the city for a period of two years.

As soon as the measure was passed, landlords filed suit arguing these relocation fees were disproportionately high, and that the municipal law was unconstitutional. A lower court agreed, and found for the landlords. The city then appealed that ruling.

Because of previous court decisions, the city had not attempted to enforce the new measure, choosing instead to await the outcome of the lawsuit.

The appellate panel referred to the city’s proposed relocation payments as a “form of ransom which interferes with and places an undue burden on landlords who seek simply to go out of business.”

The landlords also contend that other procedural requirements, including a three-year monitoring process, forcing landlords to educate tenants regarding the fees, and the process for landlords seeking a reduction based on financial hardship were unduly burdensome. However, the appellate court found it unnecessary to review those provisions because it already had determined the ordinance was flawed.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

michael pulcanio April 11, 2017 at 6:07 am

As a customer of yours, your revised credit check process is very cumbersome and time consuming. In the past I could get a check processed within minutes when I submitted the prospective renter’s social security number. Now it takes days and I have lost renter’s because of it. Any chance you are going back to the old process where I submit the social security number?

Chris April 11, 2017 at 9:36 am

So, about three years ago we were forced to change processes with Experian. Previously you ordered the reports yourself and they were returned almost instantaneously. Now…you send a request (via TVS) to the prospective tenant, who orders the consumer reports. This process can take from an hour or two…to days.

If I had a prospective tenant who took days to complete the application process, I would be asking myself a few questions as to why the delay? And What does this tell you about the tenant? EG

If not concerned about complying with landlord requests immediately and completing rental application process, how will he/she comply with landlord’s requests while a tenant?
Has one or two other rental applications pending and waiting to see which one to choose?
Attitude? Is this the type of tenant you want? Non-compliant, lazy, I’ll do it tomorrow!

So, while you don’t get the report immediately with Experian, this is a good thing for reasons noted above.

The other good thing from the Credit Bureau’s perspective and for landlords, is the fact that they get authenticated when requesting their own consumer report. That means their IDENTITY is verified. They must correctly answer out of wallet questions prior to being able to obtain the report. So, you the landlord knows for certain who you are dealing with. By ordering the report yourself, that doesn’t happen. And you aren’t required to obtain written consent as previously, because the applicant is ordering his/her own reports.

You can get the reports immediately by ordering a Trans Union report from TVS. Please call toll free 1-877-974-9328 and request that your account be switched to the Trans Union short report model. You can’t get a full consumer report unless you are site inspected. The short report has enough detail to let you know whether it’s a good consumer credit history or not.

Let me know if you have any other questions Michael, thanks for the query.

Marv Steier
TVS Tenant Verification Service Inc.

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