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Supervisor Jane Kim takes aim at ‘frivolous’ evictions

May 14, 2015

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpts

In the latest effort to combat evictions in San Francisco, Supervisor Jane Kim announced legislation Tuesday that would strengthen protections for tenants living in rent control units.

Kim announced the legislation outside of City Hall Tuesday morning with the backing of tenant rights groups noting a rise in evictions for things as simple as hanging one’s laundry out the window or storing a stroller in the foyer.

“The surge in these types of frivolous evictions over the past five years coincides with the sharp rise in the market rents,” Kim said.

The legislation, which is expected to be introduced in two weeks, would amend the Rent Control Ordinance to combat building owners looking to use any reason to kick out tenants.

Eviction notices would have to come in multiple languages, along with information where to receive assistance. In addition, landlords would have to provide proof of alleged violations to combat evictions based on “harmless mistakes.”

Tenants, under the proposal, would also have a reasonable amount of time to “cure petty violations, whether it’s taking a laundry line, removing a bike from the hallway or repainting the bedroom wall.”

For certain types of evictions, if a landlord evicts a tenant and then decides to re-rent the unit, the amount of rent would remain at the amount the previous tenant was paying under rent control.

This would apply to evictions where units were taken off the rental market for a while, such as through owner move in evictions, when a building owner evicts tenants to move in their immediate family, or the Ellis Act, a state law that allows landlords to evict tenants to take the units off the rental market.

It would also apply to evictions for capital improvements when repairs can span over a period of months. Tenants often never return to those units and the building owner then rents them at market rates. But under Kim’s proposal the landlord could only rent the repaired units at the prior tenant’s rent.

“This package of amendments provides protections for tenants that are being forced out and reducing the ability of owners to raise rent in those cases,” Kim said.. (more)

The politics and economics of the new tenant-protection proposals

By Tim Redmond

MARCH 13, 2015 – The new package of tenant measures introduced by Sup. Jane Kim will force another showdown at City Hall, with progressives and tenant activists working to defeat the almost certain opposition from landlords – and like the David Campos Mission Moratorium, will force the supervisors to take a side.

And if Kim can get six votes, it will be exceptionally difficult for the mayor to veto an anti-eviction package in 2015.

The bills, which are still being finalized by the City Attorney’s Office, contain a powerful new element that might turn out to be a way around the dreaded state legislation that prevents rent controls on vacant apartments.

In certain circumstances – say, owner-move-in evictions, or evictions due to major capital improvements – future rents would be capped at the existing level. That would mean a landlord couldn’t evict tenants, renovate the place, and rent to new tenants at higher prices (even if the old tenants decided not to return)… (more)

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