San Francisco Apartment Association Challenges New Buyout Negotiation Legislation

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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.