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)

 

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What the Airbnb settlement means

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Supervisors appear to be coming to terms with the need to keep people in their homes. Airbnb legislation is being followed by legislation to curtail illegal evictions by beefing up enforcement of the laws already in place. Photo by Zrants

I am going to let Doug Engmann, former chair of the Pacific Stock Exchange and president of the SF Planning Commission, make the point about the city attorney’s settlement today with Airbnb:

It’s a game changer. If other American cities follow San Francisco’s lead and hold Airbnb accountable for facilitating illegal activity, it could have a material impact on the company’s revenue and $30 billion valuation. Venture capitalists, private equity funds and institutional investors should be having second thoughts about an enterprise with a business model that ignores local laws, deprives working families of needed housing, and disrupts the lives of tenants, property owners and neighbors.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced yesterday that the tech giant had dropped its ill-conceived suit against the city. The city clearly had the upper hand: Cities can regulate land use; cities get to decide where hotels go and where residential areas go…(more)

Maybe it is the Donald that has removed a lot of the divisive politics from City Hall by reminding us what is important. Lately, the only disagreement is over the housing mix, density and height limits. Event the homeless are getting more sympathy these days. Airbnb settlement is just the tip of the nasty iceberg. Hopefully the Supervisors will continue to work together to solve the next round of nasty problems.

Investigative Unit: San Francisco Landlords May Have Wrongfully Evicted Hundreds of Tenants

This may be old news, but it bears repeating, especially now that the Supervisors are working to stop the illegal evictions. They may not agree on everything, but they all appear to be interested in protecting renters rights where the illegal evictions are concerned.

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit exposes widespread abuse by landlords as part of a six-month investigation into evictions across San Francisco. The Investigative Unit found that nearly one in four owner move-in evictions could be fraudulent.

More than 8,000 people in San Francisco have been evicted from their homes over the past four years, but hundreds of those residents may have been wrongfully evicted, according to an analysis by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit.

Landlords can legally evict their tenants for one of 16 reasons, including failure to pay rent and housing too many roommates. One of the fastest growing evictions, however, allows landlords to kick out their tenants if they, or, in some cases, their relatives, want to move into the home.

Owner move-in evictions have spiked more than 200 percent in just the past five years. The Investigative Unit spent six months interviewing over 100 people all across the city to determine whether landlords or their family members are actually living in the homes they claimed to move into. The investigation revealed what appears to be widespread abuse that is now shocking residents, lawmakers, and even those who investigate wrongful evictions…

Here’s how to save thousands on your rent

The Investigative Unit mapped out every owner move-in eviction in San Francisco for the past three years. You can use the interactive map below to find evictions in your neighborhood. While many of these evictions are legal, if your address is listed and you are not a landlord or a relative of the property owner, someone may have been wrongfully evicted from that unit, which might entitle you to lock in the previous tenant’s cheaper rent.

If your address is listed, let us know about it by emailing us here. You should also submit an official request to the city to have your rent reduced… (more)

Check the interactive map on the linked page above to find out if you are in an illegal unit.

 

How to prevent fraudulent owner move-in evictions

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The San Francisco supes start discussing fraudulent owner-move-in evictions Friday, and local tenant groups are asking that both of the bills coming to the committee be amended to include more effective protections for renters.

Sup. Mark Farrell has an OMI bill. So do Sups. Jane Kim and Aaron Peskin. The Government Audit and Oversight Committee will hold a hearing starting at 10 am on eviction enforcement, and tenant advocates plan to be there in numbers…

The two bills are aimed at addressing what everyone agrees is a serious problem: Landlords are getting rid of rent-controlled tenants by arguing that they want to move in (or let a close relative move in) to the apartment. That’s legal, for the most part – the owner of a building has the right to live in their property.

But in hundreds of instances every year, the landlord tosses out the tenant, waits a few months, and then rents the place out to someone else at a much higher price.

And there’s no easy way to stop that…

This is one of the major tenant issues of the year. The bills won’t actually come out of tomorrow’s hearing; they will be heard at a later point. But we will see the beginnings of the debate shape up… (more)

 

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)

The Law That Could Ban the Vast Majority of Airbnb Listings in SF


socketsite – excerpt

With the vast majority of the San Francisco properties listed on Airbnb still not registered with the City as required by law, a new piece of legislation could require Airbnb to remove up to 75 percent of their estimated 9,500 listings in San Francisco or face penalties that could theoretically total over $5 million a day.

As drafted by Supervisor Campos and now co-sponsored by Supervisors Avalos, Mar and Peskin, the proposed Short-Term Residential Rentals and Hosting Platforms ordinance amendment would require that all ‘Hosting Platforms’ (such as Airbnb, Homeaway/VRBO and FlipKey) verify that every unit offered in San Francisco has been registered with the City prior to its listing and would mandate that Platforms respond to demands from the City for information regarding the compliance of any listing within one business day.

In addition, the ordinance would extend the potential civil, administrative, and criminal penalties that exist for individuals that violate the City’s short-term rental laws to Hosting Platforms. As such, a platform could face penalties of up to $1,000 per day for every instance in which it either (1) fails to inform a host of the City’s registration law, (2) fails to collect or pay taxes on a stay, (3) allows an unregistered unit to be listed, or (4) fails to respond to the City’s demand for information to verify a units compliance with the law.

The legislation, which is working its way through the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Transportation Committee, would not apply to sites such as Craigslist which do not act as intermediaries. Any penalties collected would be deposited in the City’s Housing Trust Fund for use by the City’s Small Sites Program.

And if adopted, the amended law would become effective 30 days after enactment… (more)

 

The Airbnb law is failing. Here’s how

by Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Supes hearing shows that enforcement of the law is barely happening. Plus: Should SF taxpayers underwrite the Super Bowl party?

JANUARY 12, 2016 – Nobody from Airbnb or any of the other short-term rental platforms showed up at yesterday’s hearing on enforcing the city’s law. No representative was on hand to tell the Land Use and Transportation Committee members whether the companies have any interest in cooperating with the city. Oh, they were aware that the issue was on the table, but the corporate execs chose to duck…

“It’s really sad for me to read in the Chronicle that the city administrator had to beg Airbnb to do the right thing,” Sup. David Campos noted. “That’s where we are today – instead of rules we are begging.”…

Now: There is some dispute about how many STRs there are in the city. …

But the hearing produced some useful information about how the board could improve the enforcement…by mandating more cooperation from the platforms…

it would be so easy for Airbnb and its competitors – is to provide the city with the addresses of any unit where there’s a complaint or a question about its legality. .

That change would cost Airbnb nothing, not a penny, and would help quickly resolve complaints and investigations.

The other key change, which has been talked about for more than a year: Simply ban the hosting platforms from listing any unregistered units. This would have no impact on legal hosts, and would instantly end much of the abuse…

The committee spent some time talking about the costs of Super Bowl 50, and the message we got was this:

The city will spend taxpayer money – maybe $3 million or $4 million of taxpayer money – providing police, Muni, public works, and other support to the event. The city will probably take in more than that in increased revenue.

But either way, Sup. Jane Kim, said, “I think it’s a policy discussion whether private entities should pay for this event, whether it brings in money or not.”…(more)