Housing and Tenants’ Rights

Platform – as ratified at the SF Community Congress, August 15, 2010.


I. Tenants’ Rights

1.Reform Rent Board Commission to increase tenant representation and give supervisors some appointments, by changing Board to consist of 3 tenants, 2 landlords, and 2 neutrals (neither landlord nor tenant during the term of appointment, including people who are homeless as well as homeowners), with appointments shared between the Mayor and Supervisors.

2.Limit utility pass-through to only pass on utility increases after the landlord affirmatively demonstrates to the Rent Board that the cost of utility increase actually exceeds the annual allowable rent increase (and only by the amount it exceeds the annual allowable rent increase).

3.Strengthen enforcement measures and prohibitions on short-term rental of apartment unit to allow for more effective enforcement, protect rental stock for long-term tenants, and stop evasion of hotel tax payments.

4.Amend the Rent Ordinance to add landlord buy-out of tenants to the list of just cause evictions to enable to City to place vacancy control on these units. Require landlords to register buy-outs at the Rent Board and extend condo conversion prohibitions to units where tenants were bought out.

5.Reform condo conversion laws to regulate TIC conversions.

6.Require that relocation benefits for capital improvements and temporary displacement have escalating relocation benefits to discourage landlords’ use of capital improvements to permanently displace existing tenants.

7.Pass the Right to Remain Act for being sponsored by Supervisor Mirkarimi that will protect public housing residents’ rights during relocation and ensure their right to return to their building after it has been redeveloped in “HOPE SF” properties.

8.Provide right of first refusal to purchase by requiring owner to send tenants offer letters with real pricing (within range of last best offer from bona fide purchaser). Various ownership options could be available for different sized buildings; e.g., buildings up to four units could be purchased as TIC; larger buildings would have to form a resident association or limited-equity housing coop (LEHC), including community land trust ownership. Create City program to include financing to support tenant purchases.

9.Prohibit utility shut offs in residential rental buildings.

II. Land Use Policy

10.Amend the Housing Element to ensure adequate provision of housing for low- and moderate-income residents citywide. Create a linkage between the construction of new affordable housing and market-rate housing that fulfills the existing and additional demand for affordable housing created by market-rate housing development, even if such linkage would result in the temporary suspension of approval of market rate housing developments until the affordable housing needs have been met. In addition, any new housing development classified as “transit oriented” and thus given density bonuses must in fact be affordable to the current San Francisco workforce and directly linked to improvements in transit service to the area in which it occurs, even if that linkage results in the temporary suspension of such bonuses if the transit improvements fail to be made or transit service actually reduced.

11.Ensure that San Francisco has a voice at the table in regional Sustainable Communities planning. Regional housing allocations must include funding for affordable housing. Sustainable Communities planning must include strategies to prevent displacement of low- and moderate-income communities and sustainable neighborhood plans that address full range of community infrastructure needs.

12.Secure community benefits from California Pacific Medical Center development to address the housing impacts created by the project and to protect existing lower income residents and local small businesses from displacement. Support the Board of Supervisors’ resolution calling for the continued support for the total housing requirements of the Van Ness Special Use District, which is slated to be heard later this year.

III. Affordable Housing Funding

13.Create a permanent local source of funding for affordable housing development that does not directly depend upon the construction of new market-rate housing, such as a dedicated transfer tax for permanently affordable housing development.

14.Permanently and adequately fund and invest in developing a small sites acquisition and rehab program for buildings to be operated as nonprofit-owned affordable rental housing for low-income tenants or converted to limited-equity housing cooperative/community land trust properties.

15.Strengthen and enforce city’s Surplus Property Ordinance. City should secure abandoned properties for affordable housing. City should encourage limited-equity housing cooperative/community land trust conversions through continued funding for the Real Ownership Opportunities for Tenants program and establish a rapid response fund to secure available properties.

IV. Homelessness and Supportive Housing

16.Oppose Proposition L Sit/Lie Legislation, which targets the City’s poorest under the guise of public safety, while shelters and services for homeless people are being cut.

17.Maintain shelter capacity and ensure equitable access by removing shelter from the definition of housing under Care Not Cash and make shelter access equitable between Care Not Cash recipients and the remainder of homeless people.

18.Increase capacity of housing affordable to homeless families, and increase capacity of supportive housing for homeless individuals through creation of dedicated funding sources for supportive housing and related services.

19.Create programs to ensure early intervention to prevent homelessness.

20.Support shelters that provide safe, welcoming, culturally appropriate accommodations and services, including separate shelters for LGBT clients .

21.Support due process for Care Not Cash clients and other clients of city programs.

22.Strengthen tenants’ rights regarding visitors and care providers in supportive housing.

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