Developments in Development is a “weekly” column recapping real estate, housing, planning, zoning and construction news.
“Stick ‘em on a boat!” is becoming a weirdly popular refrain when it comes to homelessness. Art Agnos gave it a shot last year, and now he’s got one more on board, specifically Greg Gopman of “degenerates gather like hyenas” fame.
Apparently he told the Guardian this in March. It might be back in the news now because, if you haven’t noticed, a bunch of media outlets are doing this thing again where we put out a ton of stories about homelessness to see if we can bust any myths or shed any light. You can see last year’s archive here. And here’s Mission Local’s recent coverage:
Also, the number of families without a place to call home in San Francisco may be undercounted.
And here’s a look inside one man’s life who you might have passed on the streets, where he makes a living selling goods on the sidewalk.
Though it’s not necessarily agreed upon what causes homelessness (KQED takes a stab at that question), one cause can be losing housing. This week, supervisors compromised on a crackdown on fraudulent owner-move-in evictions – that is, situations in which a property owner tells their tenant they need to move because the owner, or owner’s relative, plans on moving in, but once the tenant leaves the owner simply re-rents at a higher cost.
The compromise adds significantly more teeth to existing rules around owner-move-in evictions. Right now, owners are technically required to submit documentation to the Rent Board when they do this kind of eviction, but data from the Tenants Union and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project shows that nearly half the owner-move-in evictions tenants sought help with at the Tenants Union weren’t reported to the Rent Board at all.
Now, owners need to sign a document promising that, under penalty of perjury, they’ll follow the existing rules around Owner-Move-ins. They’ll also have to submit proof that they live in the evicted unit to the city for five years after the eviction.
Another big piece is giving tenant advocacy nonprofits the right to sue landlords who fraudulently use the owner-move-in eviction process to kick out tenants – the idea being that the city hasn’t been doing that, and nonprofits are well-positioned to do so themselves.
One element that didn’t make it in, to the dismay of some, was a provision that would have given tenants the right to sue a landlord after being offered a buyout instead of an eviction if the owner does not document the buyout with the Rent Board. The idea was to prevent situations in which a tenant, thinking that their landlord was about to move in and there was nothing they could do, would be paid off to leave and later find that the landlord had not followed the rules and simply re-rented the unit.
Supervisors, however, may come back to this decision later.