Your community’s housing conditions are in crisis. Too many landlords ignore codes. They disregard tenants’ concerns. And their properties are hardly habitable. But they continue to collect rent—from tenants with little capacity to protect themselves.
So your local government fashions an innovative program, one that empowers tenants. It allows tenants living in troubled properties to withhold a portion of their rent and to use it for needed repairs.
Landlords sue. They claim that your program violates their federal substantive due process rights. Do they have a winning constitutional argument?
Not according to the Ninth Circuit, which ruled Monday in Sylvia Landfield Trust v. City of Los Angeles, No. 11-55904, slip op. (Sept. 9, 2013), that the City of Los Angeles’s Rent Escrow Account Program is constitutional.