Emergency Ban on Excessive Rent Increases Takes Effect in Nine California Counties, after Wildfires

Wednesday, October 18, 2017: California’s statewide tenants’ rights organization warned on Wednesday that double-digit rent increases following recent wildfires violate Penal Code 396, the state’s anti-price gouging laws. The cap on rent increases was triggered by the Governor’s declarations of states of emergency in nine counties due to wildfires. Tenants Together is holding a webinar at 10am-11am on October 26, 2017, for media, policymakers, lawyers, and organizers on the issue. To sign up for the webinar, visit http://bit.ly/RentBan

In the Bay Area, where affordable housing is already scarce, the fires have caused a surge in homelessness, as well as a sharp rise in demand for rental units. The price gouging law protects against landlords capitalizing on the heightened vulnerability of tenants…(more)

Find out more about these executive orders to stop price gouging in the fire areas by signing up for the webinar.

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New Affordable Housing Resources for SF Artists

If you are like us, you’re tired of losing San Francisco artists and creatives to eviction and displacement because of skyrocketing housing costs.  The good news is there is some recent money and support being set aside for affordable housing specifically for artists and nonprofit workers in SF.  18% of all new housing stock in SF is meant to be kept as ‘affordable housing’, which is important considering the median rent for a one-bed in San Francisco is currently the highest in the country at $3,370/month (that’s over $40k a year just for rent).

If you are an artist (or know an artist) who may need help with all the paperwork or to find out if you have the right income level (AMI) to qualify for affordable housing, the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) is stepping up to help you out.  The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) awarded a $115,000 grant to MEDA to assist artists and nonprofit cultural workers with accessing the City’s affordable housing stock.

Via – Kate Paterson of SFAC

“San Francisco’s highly competitive real estate market continues to prove challenging for many artists and cultural workers. Our aim through this partnership is to keep artists in San Francisco by helping those who income qualify navigate the City’s affordable housing opportunities,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny. “We are happy that we can provide free housing technical assistance for artists and nonprofit cultural workers with Mission Economic Development Agency, who excels at this work.”… (more)

How owner move-in reform will affect SF tenants and landlords

Op-ed by Cynthia Fong : sfexaminer – excerpt

Owner move-in reform unanimously passed through the Board of Supervisors on July 18. This reform adds enforcement mechanisms to protect tenants from landlords who abuse OMI evictions and never intend to move in. Here is what this new legislation means for tenants and landlords:

This legislation, aptly named “Administrative Code – Owner Move-In Reporting Requirements,” primarily impacts landlords by requiring new and improved reporting requirements. Landlords are now required to provide a declaration under penalty of perjury stating that they intend on residing in the unit for at least 36 continuous months. In addition, the Rent Board is now required to annually notify the unit occupant of the maximum allowable rent (which is the rent of the previous tenant) for five years after an OMI.

This reform also extends the amount of time that a tenant has to exercise their rights and keep landlords accountable…

Finally, and perhaps the most significantly, nonprofits like the Housing Rights Committee and the San Francisco Tenants Union will be able to exercise a “right of action” to enforce the law…

Effective enforcement mechanisms were passed because tenant advocates pushed for real solutions…

Cynthia Fong is a community organizer with the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco in the Richmond District... (more)

 

Supervisors Reach Compromise On Affordable Housing Mandates

by Shane Downing : hoodline – excerpt

Last night, moderates and progressives on the Board of Supervisors reached a compromise on how much affordable housing to require in new market-rate developments, an agreement that both prioritizes low-income families and caters to middle-class San Franciscans who don’t usually qualify for subsidized housing.

Last night’s compromise between Supervisors London Breed, Jane Kim, Aaron Peskin, Ahsha Safai and Katy Tang was a year in the making, as progressives and moderates previously locked horns on how much affordable housing to mandate in new market-rate developments.

Whereas Breed, Safai and Tang had supported legislation requiring a 18 percent requirement that targeted middle-class families, progressives Kim and Peskin pushed for a 24 percent set-aside for lower-income families…

The compromise addresses issues that were raised in 2016’s Proposition C, which required developers to sell or rent 25 percent of their new units at below-market rates. Implementing the ballot measure hinged on a yet-to-be-released feasibility study from the controller’s office…

In a related matter, supervisors unanimously voted on Tuesday to approve amendments to a proposed density bonus and height law to make it more family-friendly and take into account varying property values across San Francisco’s neighborhoods… (more)

Affordable housing program buys Richmond District building

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

A San Francisco city program that buys and preserves rent-controlled housing for tenants celebrated its first purchase Tuesday in the Richmond District and more than 100 purchases citywide since its start in 2014.

The three-story, five unit building at 4042 Fulton St. was acquired this month by the Community Land Trust with help from The City’s Small Sites Program, which provides funds for nonprofits to purchase and manage properties where long-term tenants are at risk of displacement…(more)

This is good news. We need to preserve what we have because it is the most affordable housing we will ever have.

The Agenda, April 24 -39: Real health-care reform!

Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Plus: Affordable housing, evictions, Airbnb …. and the Leaning Tower of Soma. It’s going to be a busy week

A measure that would transform health care in California and set the stage for a profound change nationwide comes before its first committee Wednesday/26.

SB 562, by Sens. Ricardo Lara and Tony Atkins, could be the most important piece of legislation in the state this year…

The California Nurses Association is leading the fight, and will be holding a rally and march to the state Capitol starting at 11 am. The hearing is at 1:30. Buses will leave San Francisco at 7:50 am, one from the Zoo and one from Civic Center; you can RSVP here

The heated battle over affordable housing in SF is back at the Planning Commission Thursday/27, and it’s pretty clear that the deck has been stacked in favor of the plan favored by Sups. Ahsha Safai and London Breed – and the developers…

It’s going to be a crazy busy day at the Supes Government Audit and Oversight Committee Friday/28

irst, Sup. Jane Kim has called for a hearing on the city’s enforcement practices around residential evictions. That’s going to play into her move to ensure more accountability for landlords who do fake owner-move-in evictions – and may be the start of a discussion around the need for more enforcement authority and inspectors at the Rent Board.

Next: Sup. Aaron Peskin wants to look into the funding and oversight of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco – which will no doubt bring up some of the issues around former DeYoung honcho Dede Wilsey, whose tenure was marked by all sorts of issues.

Then we are back to the Leaning Tower of Soma, and Peskin’s ongoing efforts to figure out why the city approved and a developer constructed a giant luxury housing tower that is now sinking and keeling over to the side…(more)

Contentious Bonus Height Program Rebranded

: socketsite – excerpt

While legislation to streamline the approval process for developers of below-market-rate housing in San Francisco to build up to three stories higher than zoned was adopted last year, the biggest component of San Francisco’s proposed Affordable Housing Bonus Program, which would have allowed market-rate developers to build up to two stories higher than currently zoned in exchange for pricing 30 percent of the development at below-market rates, was effectively abandoned.

But the bonus height program for market rate developers is about to re-emerge as “HOME-SF.”

And in addition, the HOME-SF program would expand the income range of households that qualify for the newly built below-market-rate units to families earning up to 150 percent of the Area Median Income, which is currently up to $140,000 a year for a family of four.

We heard that the ABHP was coming back. Now we know the new name of the program. Time to polish the Better Plan petition off and re-run it.