The Board of Supervisors took an extra step in tenant protections at Tuesday's meeting, voting to approve new legislation that makes it more difficult for landlords to evict tenants for minor violations, or to raise rent on units following no-fault evictions. Also, the new law will make it easier for existing tenants to add roommates without pushback from landlords something that at least four supervisors, including Scott Wiener and Katy Tang, weren't comfortable with, since it means that a person could sign a lease as a single tenant in a two-bedroom apartment and then immediately stack it with three more people.
But landlords are already doing shit like that, so why shouldn't everyone else? The new law would limit tenants' ability to do this based on maximum capacity per city fire codes, which is three people to a one-bedroom, and four people to a two-bedroom unit, as the Examiner explains.
As the Chron reports, the cause for the legislation is the spike the city has seen in "nuisance" evictions and "house rules" being added to leases, giving landlords the ability to evict people for things like smoking or painting their walls. According to the city Rent Board, cases of "breach of contract" or nuisance violation evictions have gone up 50 percent in the last four years.
The new law makes it necessary for landlords to give tenants a chance to correct a violation, and says violations must be "severe, continuing or recurring in nature."
Additionally, when it comes to owner move-in or no-fault evictions, landlords will be forced to offer the same base rent to any new tenant the unit is rented to within five years of the eviction.
Supervisor Jane Kim, who sponsored the legislation, said in a statement, "Taken together this package of reasonable amendments provides protections for our most vulnerable tenants during this speculative housing market. It also takes the greed motivation out of the evictions that we are currently seeing."
She added, per Bay City News, "Anti-eviction work is just as important [in this housing crisis] as efforts to construct additional housing."
Local activist Sara Shortt, who is Executive Director of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, said, "We are extremely grateful to Supervisor Jane Kim and her staff who worked with us for months to draft and advance this urgently needed legislation... With this victory, thousands of tenants have a fighting chance to stay in their homes."