Scott Wiener pushes bill that would help relocate Castro fire victims

District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener would like to help residents displaced by the Castro arson fires secure temporary housing, but he ran into one big problem.

Ideally, Wiener wants to ensure that those displaced don’t end up paying more in rent in a temporary housing unit. But under San Francisco housing laws, a landlord cannot offer a below-market rent without then locking that unit into that rate.

“As a result of this risk and despite their desire to help, some landlords are hesitant to assist with short-term below-market rentals after a fire, earthquake or similar event,” said a statement released by Wiener’s office.

To address this issue, Wiener plans to introduce legislation Tuesday that would allow landlords to offer temporary rentals at the rent those displaced by damage to a unit were paying. The temporary rental would be allowed to last for one year, and possibly two years if both the landlord and tenant agree.

“This law will allow us to focus on quickly getting victims of natural disasters, or crimes like terrorism and arson, into stable and affordable housing, which should be a top priority,” Wiener said in a statement. “This law will increase the supply of short-term affordable rental housing for victims of fires, earthquakes and other disasters.”

Repairs of damaged units can take months.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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