Justia U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Landlord - Tenant
Metropolitan Omaha Property Owners Ass’n v. City of Omaha, Nebraska
Plaintiffs filed suit against the City, alleging that the Rental Property Registration and Inspection Ordinance violated their constitutional rights, breached their consent decree with the City, and violated the Fair Housing Act. The Ordinance implemented uniform residential rental property registration, and a regular inspection program that is phased in accordance with the history of code violations on each property, requiring all rental properties in the City to register with the Permits and Inspections Division before leasing to tenants. The district court denied a preliminary injunction and dismissed plaintiffs' claims.The Eighth Circuit affirmed, concluding that the Ordinance does not violate Metro Omaha's constitutional rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. Applying the Nebraska Supreme Court's rules of construction, the court concluded that the plain text of the Ordinance does not authorize warrantless inspections of properties if consent is withheld. Furthermore, pre-compliance review before inspections does not apply here where inspections are permitted only if there is consent, a warrant, or court order. Finally, by withholding consent, property owners are not subject to criminal liability or prohibited from renting their property.The court also concluded that the Ordinance is not unconstitutionally vague in violation of the Fifth Amendment. The court explained that the Ordinance provides adequate notice of the proscribed conduct and does not lend itself to arbitrary enforcement. The court further concluded that Metro Omaha fails to plausibly plead a breach of the consent decree, and that the Ordinance does not violate the Fair Housing Act. View "Metropolitan Omaha Property Owners Ass'n v. City of Omaha, Nebraska" on Justia Law
Khan v. City of Minneapolis
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of judgment on the pleadings to the city in an action brought by landlord after the city revoked his rental-dwelling license. The court held that Ellis v. City of Minneapolis, 860 F.3d 1106, 1109 (8th Cir. 2017), was controlling in this case, and that landlord failed to allege a plausible claim to relief under the Fair Housing Act. Giving landlord's complaint the honest, fair assessment he invites, the court was left with the inescapable conclusion that his claim was indeed about the city's alleged hyper-enforcement of its housing code against for-profit landlords, which was essentially the same allegation that this court considered and rejected in Ellis. View "Khan v. City of Minneapolis" on Justia Law
Prairie Land Holdings, LLC v. FAA
The Eighth Circuit affirmed an adverse order by the FAA's Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition (ODRA) regarding property Southern leased to the Administration. Southern subsequently sold the property and surrounding land to Prairie Land, assigning its lease with the FAA to Prairie Land. After the FAA refused to vacate the premises, Prairie Land initiated a contract dispute with the ODRA.The court held that the FAA's continued occupancy of the property was permitted, and the ODRA did not err by concluding that the holdover provisions permitted the FAA to holdover on the property until either a new lease was agreed upon or it acquired the property in fee. Therefore, the FAA was fully within its rights to continue possessing the property. View "Prairie Land Holdings, LLC v. FAA" on Justia Law
Davenport Chester, LLC v. Abrams Properties, Inc.
The Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for tenant in a suit filed by landlord for breach of a terminated lease agreement and waste under Iowa law. The court held that, under section 26.01 of the lease agreement, the sole remedy was lease termination. Therefore, landlord could not recover the alleged contract damages. Furthermore, landlord's claim for waste failed because the parties expressly contracted for that liability in sections 6.06 and 26.01 of the lease. View "Davenport Chester, LLC v. Abrams Properties, Inc." on Justia Law
The Gap, Inc. v. GK Development, Inc.
At issue in this case is a lease for a Gap store in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Gap argues that the lease does not require it to pay for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) expenses and a share of mall operation costs. GK, the mall's management company and owner, disagreed. The district court issued a declaratory judgment in favor of Gap. The court concluded that GK waived the argument that Gap owes it for HVAC expenses under Article 10(B) of the lease. The court also concluded that, reading the ambiguous lease language in conjunction with the extrinsic evidence, a rational factfinder can reach only one conclusion in this case: The parties intended that Gap not be obligated to pay for Center Expenses for the duration of the lease. Because GK points to no evidence that its past HVAC charges were established under Article 11(C), this modification does not affect the district court’s determination that GK breached the lease or its damages award. Accordingly, the court affirmed, modified in part, and remanded the district court's judgment. View "The Gap, Inc. v. GK Development, Inc." on Justia Law
Janson v. Katharyn B. Davis, LLC
Plaintiff filed suit against defendant, the law firm representing plaintiff's landlord in a suit for unpaid rent, alleging violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692e. Plaintiff claimed that the law firm had violated the act by swearing to an affidavit without personal knowledge of the facts. The court concluded that, absent an allegation that he actually did not owe rent, plaintiff has not plausibly alleged that the defendant's practice misled the state court in any meaningful way. In this case, plaintiff's complaint only indicates that a trial was had in which the state court received evidence before rendering a judgment on the underlying rent issue. Because plaintiff has not alleged a plausible violation of the FDCPA and his class claims were properly dismissed, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Janson v. Katharyn B. Davis, LLC" on Justia Law
Annex Properties, LLC v. TNS Research Int’l
This case involved a commercial lease dispute governed by Minnesota law. Annex filed suit against TNS seeking unpaid rent and penalties owed under a lease for July, August, September, and October 2011. The district court held that TNS's July 7th letter together with its earlier email were sufficient to terminate the holdover lease effective August 31, 2011. Therefore, the district court entered judgment for the rent owing for July and August, but not for September and October. Annex appealed, arguing that the July 7th letter was not the notice of termination required by Minn. Stat. 504B.135 as construed by the Supreme Court of Minnesota, and therefore TNS continued to be bound by the terms of the unterminated lease. The court disagreed with the district court's reading of Minnesota precedents, concluding that Annex was entitled to the relief requested in this lawsuit for four months' rent. Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded for further proceedings. View "Annex Properties, LLC v. TNS Research Int'l" on Justia Law