Regulatory Takings Law: Ninth Circuit Panel Holds A Mobile Home Rent Control Ordinance Is Subject To A "Facial Challenge" and Awards Compensation To Property Owners

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According to a panel of the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal, the City of Goleta owes compensation to mobile home park owners for economic losses resulting from the enactment of a mobile home rent control ordinance. In Guggenheim v. City of Goleta, the panel held that, on its face, the rent control ordinance effectuated a “naked transfer” of approximately 90% of the value of the property from the park owner to the tenants. The court declared that “a facial challenge [to an ordinance] exists as a viable legal claim” under the ad hoc, multi-factor standards first described by the U. S. Supreme Court in 1978, in Penn Central v. City of New York (1978) (438 U.S. 104). Based on the unusual circumstances of this case, the court addressed the merits of the claim and found that this severe loss of value was a compensable regulatory “taking,” even though the park owners continued to earn positive annual returns.

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