The Law School Authority

Yee v. Escondido Case Brief

Summary of Yee v. Escondido, S. Ct 503 US 519 [1992]

Relevant Facts: The mobile home park owners were subjected to two separate regulations governing their properties.  Under the local ordinance the rent was capped at a former level any increases in rent must first be approved by the City council.  The State law limited the basis upon which an owner may terminate tenancy, including non-payment, and the owner may not require the removal of mobile homes after they are sold.

Legal Issue(s): Whether the local rent control ordinance when viewed against the State law restricting use amounted to a physical taking of mobile home park owners’ property?

Court’s Holding: No

Procedure: Super Ct sustained DF and dismissed; Pet owners appealed, ct of App Affirmed; S. Ct Affirmed (12 cases were consolidated into one appeal)

Law or Rule(s): The Govt effect a physical taking only where it requires the landowner to submit to the physical occupation of his land, the Taking Clause requires compensation if the govt authorizes a compelled physical invasion of property.

Court Rationale:  The government effects a physical taking only where it requires the landowner to submit to the physical occupation of his land. Here, petitioners have voluntarily rented their land to mobile home owners and are not required to continue to do so by either the city or the State. On their face, the laws at issue merely regulate petitioners’ use of their land by regulating the relationship between landlord and tenant. Any transfer of wealth from park owners to incumbent mobile home owners in the form of submarket rent does not itself convert regulation into physical invasion.  Escondido’s rent control ordinance does not authorize a physical invasion. Petitioner’s voluntarily rented their land to mobile home owners.  The state and local laws at issue here merely regulate petitioner’s use of their land by regulating the relationship between LL and Tenant. B/c they voluntarily opened their property to occupation by others, they cannot assert a per se right to compensation based on their inability to exclude particular individuals. It is the invitation, not the rent, that makes the difference.  The local and state laws are regulating the use of the property and thus does not amt to a per se taking.  No taking occurs under Loretto when a tenant invited to lease at one rent remains at a lower regulated rent.

Plaintiff’s Argument: Escondido’s local rent control ordinance, when viewed against State’s Law, amounted to physical occupation of their property entitling them to compensation under the takings clause. 2) the rent control ordinance authorizes a physical taking because, coupled with the state law’s restrictions, it increases a mobile home’s value by giving the homeowner the right to occupy the pad indefinitely at a submarket rent level.

Defendant’s Argument: Neither the local or state laws authorize a permanent physical occupation of the LL’s property as a per se taking.

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