Ordinance 173-14 became effective on August 30, 2014. Building Code chapter 34B requires building owners to perform seismic retrofitting work on wood-frame buildings. This ordinance altered the language of section 37.2(r) of the Rent Ordinance (“rental units”), to allow for “housing services” to be severed from the tenancy when it is necessary for the specific purpose of performing this retrofit work. It also added chapter 65A to the Administrative Code, which describes the procedure and sets the rate of compensation for the severance.
Landlord’s severing housing services to retrofit must give thirty days notice to the tenants of the housing services to be severed and the amount of time they’re going to be severed. The rate is either the value of the housing service as stated in the rental agreement (if applicable) or the per diem cost of a replacement service on the open market, not to exceed 15% of the base rent, per unit.
Legislative language available here.
Ordinance 57-02, also known as the Daly Amendment to the Rent Ordinance, was an effort to conform landlord-tenant interactions with the price ceiling and eviction control regulations of the Rent Ordinance. Among other things, it required that a landlord needed to have a present intent to evict before entering any buyout agreement. (The goal was to avoid the “Ellis bluff” – or the threat of evicting pursuant to the Ellis Act to urge a tenant to enter a buyout, where the landlord received the benefits of a vacated unit without the statutory constraints against re-renting that come with the Ellis Act.) It voided any waiver of tenants’ rights under the Rent Ordinance, unless the tenant had independent counsel and the waiver was approved by a court or a retired judge. And it imposed misdemeanor penalties for violations of these provisions.
The Daly Amendment was approved on May 2, 2002 and challenged shortly after by a group of landlords, tenants, and San Francisco real estate attorneys, as seen in the case Baba v. Bd. of Sup’rs of City & Cty. of San Francisco (2004) 124 Cal. App. 4th 504.
In Baba, Division Two of the First District Court of Appeal determined that the Daly Amendment violated several rights of both landlords and tenants. The prohibition against negotiating a buyout without a present intent to evict violated landlords’ speech rights for communications that, even if they were inherently commercial in nature, were not inherently false or misleading, and therefore deserved certain minimal protection. It determined that the requirement that tenants have independent counsel in entering court-approved settlement agreements violated their rights to self-representation in civil proceedings. Finally, it determined that the conduct that was the focus of criminal liability was speech – the regulations constituted content-based speech regulation.