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.