SocketSite reports on new “group housing” units (buildings with single units but enough shared amenities to avoid “below market rate” unit requirements) targeted to San Francisco’s “working class”, who finally have an incentive to earn 150% of the “area median income”.
BeyondChron reports on efforts of tenants in apartment complexes in Richmond to go on a “rent strike”, in an effort to urge the city of Richmond to pass rent control legislation.
San Francisco Board of Supervisors passes legislation supporting SB 364 – Senator Mark Leno’s second effort to impose restrictions to the use of the Ellis Act to withdraw residential rental property from the rental market. (Among other things, the law would require that a landlord first own the property for five years before seeking to “go out of business” as an “anti-speculation” measure.)
SF Gate reports on single-room-occupancy hotels (“SROs”) in Chinatown as the next frontier for gentrification.
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.
The San Jose Mercury News reports that the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors took steps away from considering instituting rent control in unincorporated San Mateo county, by deciding not to have county staff research how to go about creating a rent ordinance.
In a series of steps toward legitimizing the practice, Airbnb recently “volunteered” a 25 million dollar tax payment to San Francisco, and the City recently enacted new “hosting platform” legislation, where tenants who comply with its procedures would not be subject to the “just cause for eviction” provisions of the Rent Ordinance for a first violation of the residential unit conversion ordinance.
Sam Levin at the East Bay Express explores the effects on tenants of 901 Jefferson Street in Oakland – a post-Costa-Hawkins “new construction” apartment building – following a volley of market-rate rent increases by its new owner.
The San Francisco Apartment Association filed a lawsuit last Thursday challenging the City’s new buyout legislation. Among other things, that legislation would impose requirements for landlords to provide disclosures to tenants prior to discussing offers to pay tenants to leave their (rent-controlled) tenancies.
The lawsuit alleges violations of free speech, equal protection and privacy rights. It notes that the regulations treat tenants differently than landlords (e.g., providing rights to rescind executed agreements only to the former and imposing penalties only to the latter), and it urges that the regulations inhibit free speech. The Court of Appeal struck down an earlier amendment to the Rent Ordinance, which prevented landlords from discussing efforts to recover possession of a rental unit from a tenant, unless they had a “good faith” intent to evoke a “just cause” for eviction, in Baba v. Board of Supervisors of CCSF.
The City does have an interest in knowing what’s going on with its rental housing supply. Prior to this legislation, the City has had to obtain most of its data on buyout figures from the San Francisco Tenants Union.
It is unknown at this time whether the lawsuit will be successful in knocking out some, or even all, of the provisions of the new legislation. In the meantime, landlords, make sure you comply with all of the current requirements!
You can read the San Francisco Apartment Association’s media release here.