Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sylvia Landfield Trust v. City of Los Angeles (9th Cir. - Sept. 9, 2013)

Imagine that you're an (alleged) slumlord and the City of Los Angeles has put your building in its "REAP" program, which permits tenants to pay their rent into an escrow account -- which the landlord can use to repair the premises -- once a landlord has failed to repair habitability violations.  You filed a federal lawsuit claiming that this program is unconstitutional, but the district court dismissed your lawsuit.  You've filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit.

You now learn that your panel includes . . . Judges Pregerson and Fletcher.  With Judge Pregerson writing the opinion.  What are the chances the opinion comes out like this?

Virtually certain.

Affirmed.  Doesn't even need oral argument.

What L.A. did is entirely reasonable.  You're an (alleged) slumlord.  You've failed to comply with your repair obligations.  To say that you're nonetheless entitled to full and unfettered access to your tenant's rent and that L.A. can't do anything to ensure that the property gets repaired is . . . well, let's just say, not required by the Due Process Clause of the Constitution.