Apartment Association of Orange County Files Lawsuit Over Santa Ana Law

Posted By: Chip Ahlswede Legislative Affairs, Advocacy Updates,

Santa Ana’s hastily crafted and adopted law, without industry input, creates extreme city liabilities.

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA (February 14, 2023) - The Apartment Association of Orange County (AAOC) has filed a lawsuit against the city of Santa Ana challenging the municipality’s rent stabilization and just cause eviction ordinance. The litigation marks the first time in the association’s 61-year history that it has sued one of the cities where it operates and represents rental-housing providers. The suit highlights the fallout that happens when government, industry, and residents are unable to work collaboratively to address community needs that affect multiple stakeholders.

“AAOC’s mission is to work with multifamily housing providers to connect with and meet the needs of the communities in which they operate,” said David Cordero, AAOC Executive Officer. “Recently Santa Ana has not participated in that collaborative manner.”

The lawsuit follows a series of laws passed by the city of Santa Ana in 2021 and 2022 seeking to limit through price controls and management restrictions the ability of property owners to effectively provide a safe, stable, and sustainable place to live. These laws – referred to as the Rent Stabilization and Just Cause Eviction Ordinance – are an attempt to further limit the rights of property owners to receive a fair return and constrain otherwise proper evictions.

“We tried repeatedly to work with the city to address these concerns prior to adoption, but the city refused to meet with us,” said AAOC President John Tomlinson. “We could have avoided this lawsuit – and most likely found better solutions, had we been able to work with the city. Their exclusion of our industry is why we are now in this situation.”

The lawsuit challenges the City’s establishment of a rental housing board that is by design unconstitutionally biased against property owners in the City. Furthermore, the lawsuit attacks the City’s rent control scheme as it will necessarily deprive property owners of a fair return on their investments – a standard that the United States and California Supreme Courts have consistently held to be a constitutional guarantee.

AAOC hopes to find a resolution to this situation that best benefits the people of Santa Ana, and the housing providers that help make Santa Ana community the vibrant community it has been.

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For more information, contact Chip Ahlswede at (714) 245-9500 x1416 or email chip@aaoc.com.