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Yee v. City of Escondido

Supreme Court of the United States

January 22, 1992, Argued ; April 1, 1992, Decided

No. 90-1947


 [*522]  [***162]  [**1526]    JUSTICE O'CONNOR delivered the opinion of the Court.

 ] The Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment provides: "Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." Most of our  [****7]  cases interpreting the Clause fall within two distinct classes. Where the government authorizes a physical occupation of property (or actually takes title), the Takings Clause generally requires compensation. See, e. g., Loretto v. Teleprompter Manhattan CATV Corp., 458 U.S. 419, 426, 73 L. Ed. 2d 868, 102 S. Ct. 3164 (1982). But where the government merely regulates the use of property, compensation  [*523]  is required only if considerations such as the purpose of the regulation or the extent to which it deprives the owner of the economic use of the property suggest that the regulation has unfairly singled out the property owner to bear a burden that should be borne by the public as a whole. See, e. g., Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City, 438 U.S. 104, 123-125, 57 L. Ed. 2d 631, 98 S. Ct. 2646 (1978). The first category of cases requires courts to apply a clear rule; the second necessarily entails complex factual assessments of the purposes and economic effects of government actions.

 Petitioners own mobile home parks in Escondido, California. They contend that a local rent control ordinance, when viewed against the backdrop of California's Mobilehome Residency Law, amounts to a physical occupation of their property, entitling  [****8]  them to compensation under the first category of cases discussed above.

The term "mobile home" is somewhat misleading. Mobile homes are largely immobile as a practical matter, because the cost of moving one is often a significant fraction of the value of the mobile home itself. They are generally placed permanently in parks; once in place, only about 1 in every 100 mobile homes is ever moved. Hirsch & Hirsch, Legal-Economic Analysis of Rent Controls in a Mobile Home Context: Placement  [***163]  Values and Vacancy Decontrol, 35 UCLA L. Rev. 399, 405 (1988). A mobile home owner typically rents a plot of land, called a "pad," from the owner of a mobile home park. The park owner provides private roads within the park, common facilities such as washing machines or a swimming pool, and often utilities. The mobile home owner often invests in site-specific improvements such as a driveway, steps, walkways, porches, or landscaping. When the mobile home owner wishes to move, the mobile home is usually sold in place, and the purchaser continues to rent the pad on which the mobile home is located.

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503 U.S. 519 *; 112 S. Ct. 1522 **; 118 L. Ed. 2d 153 ***; 1992 U.S. LEXIS 2115 ****; 60 U.S.L.W. 4301; 92 Cal. Daily Op. Service 2757; 92 Daily Journal DAR 4358; 6 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 158



Disposition: 224 Cal. App. 3d 1349, 274 Cal. Rptr. 551, affirmed.


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Constitutional Law, Bill of Rights, Fundamental Rights, Eminent Domain & Takings, Real Property Law, Inverse Condemnation, Regulatory Takings, Remedies, Landlord & Tenant, Rent Regulation, General Overview, Substantive Due Process, Scope, Torts, Premises & Property Liability, Lessees & Lessors, Energy & Utilities Law, Oil, Gas & Mineral Interests, Mobilehomes & Mobilehome Parks, Maintenance & Use Issues, Mining Industry, Coal Mining, Business & Corporate Compliance, Real Property Law, Mining, Regulations, Rent Control Statutes, Constitutional Issues, Civil Procedure, Appeals, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Preservation for Review, Jurisdiction on Certiorari, Considerations Governing Review, State Court Decisions, The Judiciary, Case or Controversy, Ripeness, Governments, Courts, Rule Application & Interpretation, Appellate Jurisdiction, State Court Review, Zoning, Constitutional Limits, Contracts Law, Types of Contracts, Lease Agreements