In Almanor Lakeside Villas Owners Association v. Carson, (6th Dist. 2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 761, the court of appeal affirmed a trial court judgment awarding the homeowners’ association (HOA) approximately $100,000.00 in attorneys’ fees. The HOA filed a complaint against a member of the HOA in order to enforce $20,000.00 in fines and related fees for rule violations related to the member’s leasing of its two properties as short-term vacation rentals, which was prohibited by the CC&Rs.
CASE UPDATE: Wrongful Foreclosure Plaintiff Can Challenge The Validity Of The Assignment Of The Underlying Note And Deed Of Trust.
In Yvanov v. New Century Mortg. Corp., (2016) 62 Cal.4th 919, the California Supreme Court resolved a split of authority in the appellate courts and held that a borrower who has suffered a nonjudicial foreclosure has standing to sue for wrongful foreclosure based on an argument that the foreclosing loan beneficiary and trustee lack foreclosure authority because the loan was not properly assigned. Generally speaking, “standing” is a constitutional requirement that a plaintiff in a lawsuit have a legally protectable and tangible interest at stake in the litigation.
CASE UPDATE: Landlord Cannot Terminate A Residential Tenancy Based On A Violation Of A Lease Term That Is Not “Material”.
In Boston LLC v. Juarez, (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 75, the court held that it was not proper for a landlord to terminate a residential tenancy and evict a tenant under a three-day notice based on the fact that the tenant failed to obtain renter’s personal injury and property damage insurance, as required by the lease. The court further held that in order to enforce a forfeiture provision in a lease, the tenant’s breach must be “material”, i.e., substantial, even if the forfeiture provision does not require a breach to be material. In this case, the court reasoned that the breach was not material because the insurance requirement only protected the tenant’s interests, not the landlord’s, and because the landlord otherwise failed to prove how it was harmed by the tenant not obtaining renter’s insurance after having lived at the premises for 15 years without this term being enforced.
The Santa Cruz Sentinel recently reported on the Santa Cruz City Council’s approval of a new 32-unit condominium project to be constructed at 1800 Soquel Avenue at the intersection of Hagemann Avenue, which is the current site of May’s Sushi Bar & Grill. (Santa Cruz Council Green Lights New Condo Development, 4/13/16.) The article described this project as, “a test case for the city’s in-development “Corridor Plan,” calling for increased density of residential and commercial growth along major city roads….” The project consists primarily of one-bedroom and studio units, and will provide much needed relatively affordable housing in the City.
The Santa Cruz City Council and the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors have already decided, as a matter of land use policy, that the best places to add the substantial amount of new housing that is needed in Santa Cruz are along the four main thoroughfares – Mission Street, Water Street, Soquel Avenue/Soquel Drive, and Ocean Street. The basic idea is to site new, dense residential development near bikeways and public transportation routes in hopes that a significant amount (10%? 20%?) of new residents will bike and/or take the bus instead of driving (at least some of the time), in order to minimize traffic and other impacts in the urban boundary area overall.
CASE UPDATE: Court Affirms Coastal Commission’s Authority to Issue Cease, Desist and Restoration Orders Regarding Extensive Development in the Coastal Zone Conducted Without Coastal Development Permits..
Hagopian v. State (2nd Dist. 2014), 2014 WL 265517, involved a challenge to Coastal Commission permitting and enforcement authority brought by egregious Coastal Act violators. The plaintiffs purchased undeveloped coastal zone property in the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles County (“Parcel 24”). At the time, L.A. County did not have a certified Local Coastal Program, and so the Coastal Commission was the coastal development permit issuing authority.
CASE UPDATE: Court Affirms Statutory Residential Tenant Protections Even After Premises Is Foreclosed On.
In Nativi v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (6TH Dist. 2014), 2014 WL 255587, the tenants were evicted from their rented garage by the foreclosing bank, even though the tenants had several more months remaining on their one-year lease. The trial court held that the foreclosure sale extinguished the lease pursuant to California state law generally providing that the nonjudicial foreclosure of a dominant deed of trust extinguishes subordinate interests, including leases.
CASE UPDATE: EIR For Redevelopment Of Treasure Island Complied With CEQA As A Planning-Level EIR Even Though It Was Called A “Project EIR”.
In Citizens for a Sustainable Treasure Island v. City of County of San Francisco, (1st Dist. 2014) 2014 WL 3057986, the court affirmed the City and County of San Francisco’s approval of a new, 20-year master plan for the total redevelopment of Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island. Petitioner’s main argument on appeal was that the City prejudicially abused its discretion by preparing a project EIR instead of aprogram EIR; the subject EIR characterized itself as a “project EIR” that analyzed all phases of the Project at maximum build out.
In Tuolumne Jobs & Small Business Alliance v. Superior Court, (2014) 59 Cal.4th 1029, the California Supreme Court held that CEQA review is not required when a local government entity adopts a voter submitted land use initiative directly (and without the need for a public vote), just as CEQA review is not required before voters adopt an initiative at an election.
In Rominger v. County of Colusa, (2014) 229 Cal.App.4th 690, the court held that the approval of a tentative subdivision map was subject to CEQA review categorically – even if a specific development project was yet to be planned. The court further held that CEQA procedural errors (in this case, failure to post public notice of the County’s intent to adopt a mitigated negative declaration (MND) for the full 30 days) constituted abuse of discretions, but such errors are not grounds for reversal unless they are shown to be prejudicial. The court held that the 27-day notice period in this case was not prejudicial. Also, the court rejected arguments that an EIR (as opposed to an MND) was required to address potential agricultural, odor, noise, air quality, greenhouse gas and water supply impacts, but the court agreed that an EIR was required to address potential traffic issues.
In Lynch v. California Coastal Commission, (2014) 229 Cal.App.4th 658, the court of appeal held that a coastal permit applicant could not submit to coastal permit conditions of approval and reserve the right to challenge them in court later. The plaintiffs owned neighboring bluff-top homes in Encinitas, and they applied to the City and the Coastal Commission for permits to reconstruct a seawall, a mid-bluff geogrid protection structure, and a private stairway.
While the application was pending, a severe storm caused the bluff below one of the owner’s houses to collapse and destroyed portions of the existing structures. The Commission granted the permit but with special conditions that precluded building the lower part of the stairway, limited the permit to 20 years, and required the owners to record deed restrictions consistent with these conditions. Instead of challenging the permit conditions right away, the owners submitted to the conditions and recorded the deed restriction.
In City of Pasadena v. Superior Court (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 1228, the court held that the City of Pasadena might have liability for damage to a house caused by a City-owned street tree that fell during a storm. On November 11, 2011, hurricane-force winds blew down or damaged 5,000 trees in the City, which damaged many homes. The insurance company of one of the damaged homeowners sued the City under negligence and inverse condemnation theories.