California Civil Code Section 1954.53 - Interpretation

In Bullard v. San Francisco Residential Rent Stabilization Bd. (2003) 106 Cal.App.4th 488, the plaintiff challenged a San Francisco rent control ordinance. The ordinance provided that "a landlord who evicts a tenant in order to move into the tenant's unit must offer the tenant another unit, if one is vacant." (Id. at p. 489.) The ordinance also regulated the rent that the landlord could charge for the replacement unit. (Ibid.) The court held that the rent restriction was preempted by Civil Code section 1954.53, the vacancy decontrol provision of Costa-Hawkins. (Bullard, at p. 489.) The San Francisco rent control board argued that the rent restriction was not preempted because it was a regulation within the meaning of Civil Code section 1954.53, subdivision (e), which preserves local authority to " 'regulate or monitor the grounds for eviction.' " The Court of Appeal rejected that argument, holding that the rent restriction had "no logical connection to the basis for an owner move-in eviction." (Bullard, supra, 106 Cal.App.4th at p. 491.)