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The State : Berkeley Rent Law Voided

March 01, 1987

Rent control for businesses in Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue shopping district was struck down by a federal judge in San Francisco, who said a provision of the year-old ordinance narrowly limiting the grounds for which a property owner can refuse to renew a lease violates the constitutional ban on impairment of contracts. U.S. District Judge Marilyn Hall Patel ruled that the stated purpose of the measure, which was to preserve the character and diversity of the business district, did not justify the "unreasonably overbroad, ill-tailored and severely restrictive provision." Her ruling affects only an 8-by-5-block area, but officials said a similar ordinance covering Berkeley's Elmwood area may now be subject to the same kind of challenge.

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