The San Francisco Business Times reports on newly elected Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s plan to reform rent control by amending state law (i.e., Costa-Hawkins). While a broader affordable housing agenda has developers keying certain sales to income levels, cities generally cannot require property owners to dedicate new construction to rent ceilings because of preemption by Costa-Hawkins.
New proposed legislation would make significant changes to the Rent Ordinance, and, in particular, how it interacts with Costa-Hawkins. If the proposed ordinance passes in its current form, it would impose vacancy control on rental units where the previous tenancy was terminated by the landlord or terminated by the tenant following a change in the terms of the tenancy. (Most often, this will be based on a “non-fault” eviction by the landlord, or the termination of the tenancy by the tenant following a rent increase.) For rent increases, the landlord will be required to file information about the former and (proposed) new rent increase with the Rent Board.
Other changes would allow tenants to retroactively come into compliance on certain unlawful sublets, require heightened standards for what constitutes a breach of lease, and impose mandatory service of a multi-lingual form to accompany notices to quit.
Robert Gammon proposed an interesting idea for Costa-Hawkins reform in his Op-Ed at the East Bay Express. Arguing that Costa-Hawkins has not had its desired effect in increasing production of new (rent-control exempt) construction, and that new construction in lower income neighborhoods leads to price increases even on the older housing supply, he proposes an amendment where new construction is decontrolled for ten years, before coming under rent control thereafter.