Ordinance 194-09 amends the Building Code to require landlords to register vacant and abandoned buildings and equips the Building Department with enforcement tools. Section 103A.4.1 of the Building Code now defines a vacant and abandoned property as one that is:
(1) is unoccupied and unsecured,
(2) is unoccupied and secured by boarding or other similar means,
(3) is unoccupied and unsafe as defined in Section 102A of this Code,
(4) is unoccupied and has multiple code violations, or
(5) has been unoccupied for over 30 days.
To comply with the statute, landlords must annually register with DBI and pay the registration fee. They must also post a notice (with the current name, address, and phone number of the owner of record), obtain liability insurance, maintain the property and secure it against unauthorized entry. However, a property will not be considered vacant and abandoned if if it does not contribute to blight, is ready for occupancy and is actively being offered for sale or lease.
Chapter 47 of the San Francisco Administrative Code provides for affordable housing unit priority for various categories of tenants. Originally, the stock of affordable units was allocated to applicants who obtained “Certificates of Preference”.
In 2013, San Francisco enacted Ordinance 277-13, which added a category for tenants displaced by the Ellis Act. In 2015, the City enacted Ordinance 204-15, which included tenants displaced by owner move-in evictions under Section 37.9(a)(8) of the Rent Ordinance.
Currently, the Board of Supervisors is evaluating adding another category for people who live or work in San Francisco.
This September, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Ordinance 171-15. Also known as the “Jane Kim Amendment” or “Eviction Protections 2.0”, the new legislation proposed by Supervisor Kim amends the San Francisco Rent Ordinance in an effort to heighten protections for tenants against evictions.
Among other mechanisms, the revised Rent Ordinance language now requires breaches of lease covenants to be “substantial” and for the commission of nuisance behavior to be “severe, continuing or recurring in nature” for an eviction notice to be viable. (It is yet to be seen whether these subjective terms actually change existing standards.) It significantly erodes the ability of landlords to enforce provisions governing occupancy limits and prior approval for subletting, and it imposes new “prerequisites” for serving eviction notices for such breaches. It also requires a landlord to “plead and prove” a proper “dominant motive” for terminating a tenancy.
As for non-fault evictions and voluntary terminations of tenancies, the Rent Ordinance now requires notices containing the existing rental rate to be filed with the Rent Board, and it imposes “vacancy control” at that rate for five years following termination of the tenancy.
Ordinance 171-15 was returned unsigned by the Mayor on October 9, 2015 and will be effective November 8, 2015.
You can find the legislative language of Ordinance 171-15 here, and a draft of the proposed Rent Board amendments to their Rules and Regulations to implement Ordinance 171-15 here.
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.