SF supes debate boosting tenants’ rights and discuss homeless strategies

The debate resumes today before a Board of Supervisors committee over whether to increase renter protections under a proposal supporters call “Eviction Protection 2.0.” And later this week, a board committee will continue discussions around the homeless issue.

Proposed by Supervisor Jane Kim, the legislation would impose vacancy rent control for several types of evictions while also making it more difficult for landlords to execute evictions for minor offenses.

It is the latest legislative effort to address displacement amid a booming economy and a red hot real estate market. “Speculative landlords are looking for opportunities to make more money in this environment,” Kim previously said.

The proposal was held up July 27 by the board’s land use committee members Supervisors Malia Cohen and Scott Wiener. But now after the board has returned from summer recess, the committee, upon which Kim also sits, could vote to send it to the full board for adoption. Some proposed changes to the law are expected from both Cohen and Wiener. It’s unclear if they will be acceptable to supporters.

In the event the committee doesn’t support it, Kim could turn to the rarely used legislative process that allows a supervisor to bypass a board committee with four signatures of her colleagues to force a vote at the full board.

The legislation amends the Rent Ordinance in six primary ways. It requires that eviction notices are issued in multiple languages with information how to obtain legal help. For evictions based on violating lease terms or nuisances landlords must provide proof of the allegations. Additionally, tenants must have a chance to correct minor violations, such as a chance to remove a laundry line outside or repaint a wall.

If a landlord has been renting a residence illegally, a tenant could not be evicted for unauthorized occupancy. Renters could also add long-term roommates without being evicted so long as the numbers don’t exceed building code occupancy limits.

There is also a provision that prevents a landlord from evicting a renter for owner move in, condo conversion or capital repairs only to turn around and rerent the unit at a market rate. Instead, the landlord, in these cases, must rent the unit at the rent amount the departing tenant had paid. The provision is meant to ensure those evictions are not incentivized by the prospect of raising rents.

As the board debates ways to help tenants remain in their homes, it also is discussing how to help those who have lost them. The Jan. 29 homeless count found 71 percent said they were living in San Francisco at the time they became homeless, a 10 percent increase from the count in 2013. Forty-nine percent had lived in San Francisco for 10 years or more. The count identified 6,686 homeless persons, an increase of 256 persons in 2013. The count also counted homeless youth at 853, bringing the
total to 7,539.

On Wednesday, conversations around the homeless issue continue at the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee with a hearing on the results of the 2015 homeless count and strategies to address this population.

Mayor Ed Lee’s recent comments about ridding the streets of homeless persons for Super Bowl 50 festivities this February has put more attention on the issue.

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