Property owners were the majority in attendance at Monday's Land Use Committee meeting.

Like clockwork, Supervisor John Avalos made his entrance at yesterday’s Land Use Committee meeting when it was time to address item number seven on the agenda: his proposal to extend just cause eviction protections to tenants living in post-1979 buildings.

And like clockwork, the usual suspects — property owners and tenant rights advocates — stepped up to the podium and reiterated their arguments for or against the new measure.

It might have felt like a rerun of the last two hearings, but at the end of this one the three-member committee approved amendments that will modify the proposed legislation to clarify the conditions by which a landlord can conduct an owner move-in eviction and to stipulate the steps developers must follow if the condos they intended to sell are put up for rent.

The snide remarks from disgruntled property owners, however, made it loud and clear that they were unlikely to be satisfied with the amendments and that they remain opposed to the proposed legislation in its entirety.

“This is a solution looking for a problem,” said Andrew Long, a property owner. “I think you need to kill this and talk about legislation that only affects the people you’re trying to help.”

Owners and tenant advocates will get another day in the Land Use Committee room. The item will continue to Dec. 7 for one last round of public comment to give interested parties the chance to review and study the approved amendments.

“The amendments were based on public input,” said Supervisor Avalos. “We want to make sure we’re not harming the industry.”

During the meeting Avalos cited figures that show 16,000 to 20,000 housing units in the city were built after 1979. Tenants living in these properties don’t benefit from the 15 just cause reasons landlords must give to evict tenants from units built before 1979.

Mariana Viturro, executive director at St. Peter’s Housing Committee, highlighted that 10 percent of their tenants live in post-1979 buildings and that the group of unprotected tenants will only increase with all the new housing construction.

The new measure “doesn’t prevent tenants from being evicted,” she said, “it now makes [landlords] have a reason” to do so.

As the current law stands, owner move-ins are one of the 15 just causes for evictions, with only one owner move-in eviction per building allowed. But given the particular case of condominiums in which various owners own separate units in a shared building, one eviction per building presents a problem.

The first amendment will address this and clarify that an owner can move in to his or her condo regardless of the number of condos with different owners occupying the same building.

The second amendment, presented by Supervisor David Chiu of District 3, outlines how a developer must conduct business if he or she decides to rent a condo originally intended for sale.

“The point is to assist smaller builders and developers who don’t have traditional retirement programs and have to convince banking institutions” to lend to them, said Supervisor Chiu. “Also, that tenants are protected in that instance.”

Some of the stipulations of this amendment require that the unit not be previously sold; the owner must give a tenant a written notice that the rental is temporary and that the condo will be intended for future sale; and that a 90 day notice be given before the unit is sold or relocation benefits be allocated if the tenant has to move before his or her lease is up.

If the modified legislation is passed at the next hearing, it will be introduced as a committee report at the following day’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Dec. 8.

“I would expect that we’ll hear another reason why this shouldn’t go forward,” said Supervisor Avalos.

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Housing, property, and space in general are prized commodities, especially in San Francisco. Nancy López gets to cover the stories that inevitably grow out of the cracks in the vacant storefronts, aging buildings and limited affordable housing - to name a few of the issues - found throughout the Mission District. She welcomes any story ideas readers may have.

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  1. What is really striking about the SF housing politics is how short-sighted and un-economical it is. I see this legislation as the first step to extending the SF inane rent control over the post 1979 buildings i.e. making the city of SF completely undesirable place to build and invest in new real estate. Activists never learn, though – if the stock of rentable buildings decreases because landlords rather sell to owners, instead of continuing their indenture to the renal market … well, it still will be “greedy landlords/developers/speculators” fault. It always is.

  2. Roza – I’m not a landlord, but had purchased a post-1979 housing unit under the rational expectation that the unit would be exempt from both the “just cause” eviction requirement and rent control. If any tenants had been unfairly evicted from a post-1979 rental unit, they could have appeared at any of the hearings – so far none have. I’m not in favor of booting anything from the Mission – having said that, when the Board of Supervisors comes up with a proposal like this that would reduce the equity that we have put into our homes, you can expect that there will be opposition from upset homeowners like myself. If the “just cause” eviction requirement is such a wonderful thing for landlords & property owners, then why did Supervisor Chris Daly purchase 3 separate residential properties in San Francisco & Fairfield which are not subject to that requirement?

  3. OK, since we’re only getting landlords here, I’ll chime in with a little common sense: your resistance to just-cause evictions means you want UNJUST-cause evictions, and that’s what you are practicing. Your resistance to affordable housing means you want UNAFFORDABLE housing, so you can take over the Mission and boot out the people who are already here.

  4. Thanks for the reply Nancy. I’d also hope that the Committee holds off on bringing this matter before the full Board until the FPPC has weighed in whether Supervisor Daly must recuse himself in this matter. Recusal would appear appropriate given that Daly’s residence at 1346 Stevenson Street in San Francisco, in a building built in 1997, would appear to be one of the 16,000 to 20,000 housing units affected by this measure. If that’s the case, then Daly should be barred under Government Code Section 87100 from voting upon the proposed ordinance, or even discussing it with his fellow supervisors.

  5. Hi Colin,

    One of the property owners at the meeting advised Supervisor Avalos to check in with the FHA to see whether the proposed legislation will jeopardize financing for future projects. This item will probably be discussed at the next Land Use Committee meeting. Thanks for pointing it out.


  6. The amendments do nothing to remedy the constitutional problems with the legislation. The supervisors are taking away rights enjoyed by the owners of post-1979 housing units for the benefit of tenants without offering any just compensation in return. If this passes it is only going to depress property values in San Francisco and further reduce the city’s property tax revenue. Supervisor Avalos says that this measure is nothing radical, which is easy for him to say since he doesn’t own one of the properties affected by this measure.

    Rather than dismiss the many persuasive arguments against the measure presented at the hearing as “snide remarks from disgruntled property owners”, perhaps Ms. Lopez could have advised her readers that noone with the Board of Supervisors had checked with the FHA or the various federal homelending authorities, whether this measure as proposed would prevent any new home loans to be made, given its new restrictions on ownership?

  7. This legislation shouldn’t go forward. It is yet another legislation that will discourage the development of new housing in San Francisco. And the Board of Stupidvisors wonders why we have limited housing supply here!