Measure for Measure

The March 3 election will have five ballot measures. Read on for details and SFAA’s positions.

The March 3 election includes a number of measures that would affect San Francisco property owners, including earthquake safety and preparedness and a vacancy tax on storefronts. Read on for a summary of these measures, as well as the San Francisco Apartment Association’s positions. For a full slate card, which includes SFAA’s preferred candidates for the Democratic County Central Committee, State Senate, State Assembly, and San Francisco Superior Court Judges, turn to page 14.

Proposition A
Prop A is an $845 million bond measure to fix and repair City College facilities; make necessary seismic retrofit improvements; and to acquire, construct, and repair City College facilities. The bond measure requires a vote of 55% to pass and authorizes a 50% passthrough to tenants. SFAA recommends a “No” vote on this measure.

Proposition B
Prop B is a $628.5 million bond measure to finance the seismic retrofitting of the emergency firefighting water system (which supplies the large volumes of high-pressure water when necessary during an emergency) and the construction, acquisition, improvement and renovation of firefighting facilitates, police stations, the 911 call center and other disaster response infrastructure. The measure needs a two-thirds supermajority to pass. SFAA recommends a “Yes” vote on this measure.

Proposition C
Prop C is a measure to extend health care benefits to employees of the Housing Authority of the City and County of San Francisco who started working for the City and County of San Francisco on or after March 7, 2019, and before March 1, 2021, without a break in service between employment with the Housing Authority and employment with the City and County of San Francisco. The measure has to go before voters because it’s technically an amendment of the City Charter. To pass, the measure needs a simple majority vote. SFAA recommends a “Yes” vote on this measure.

Proposition D
Prop D imposes a tax on ground floor commercial properties that have been vacant for more than 182 days in certain commercial districts. The tax is $250 per linear foot and increases each year the space is left vacant. This prop requires two-thirds super majority to pass.  SFAA recommends a “No” vote on this measure.

Proposition E
Prop E is a measure to limit new office space development in San Francisco if the city does not meet its RHNA Affordable Housing production goals. The measure would lower the current amount of allowable office space in accordance with affordable housing development. This proposition needs a simple majority to pass. SFAA recommends a “No” vote on this measure.

Rent-Gouging Ban Extended
Governor Gavin Newsom extended the statewide wildfire-prompted ban on “rent-gouging.” As of now, the ban will remain in effect through the rest of 2020 for Butte, Los Angeles, Mendocino, Napa, Santa Barbara, Sonoma and Ventura counties. With limited exceptions, this means property owners throughout the state cannot increase the rent on existing and new tenants by more than 10%.

Penalties for violating the price-gouging ban can include a year in county jail, $10,000 in fines, and other civil penalties. Additional penalties can be imposed by local jurisdictions.

Homeless Task Force Report
Gov. Newsom’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors released a report recommending that the state of California pass a constitutional amendment requiring all cities and counties to provide adequate shelter or housing for every homeless person in the state. The proposal mandates that each of the states 58 counties and 482 cities meet housing and shelter needs within a year of passing.

According to the SF Chronicle, the cost of housing California’s homeless population of 156,000 would cost billions of dollars. Gov. Newsom proposed a budget creating a $750 million fund to cover rent and building housing for homeless people, and a $1.4 billion expansion to Medi-Cal to fund support services.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg—co-chair of the 13-member task force—is aiming to have this amendment in the November general election. Two-thirds of the Legislature would have to vote to put the amendment on the ballot, and to pass, it would need the majority of the vote.

SFAA Updates
Annual SFAA Trade Show - Save Thursday, March 26, 2020 for the annual SFAA Trade Show at the Fort Mason Center. Attendees will learn all about the latest trends, products and services in the multifamily housing industry. Consult with legal and management professionals, get to know service providers, improve your overall effectiveness at the free educational classes, and meet peers in the San Francisco rental property market.  The event is free and open to the general public, so bring your friends and enjoy! Please note that the trade show will replace the March member meeting. For more information on the trade show or to become a sponsor, contact

2020 SFAA Lease Update - The SFAA lease committee is reviewing and making updates to the current lease. Visit in March for the 2020 lease.

Rent Board Fee - The San Francisco Rent Board announced the updated 2019-2020 fees. From July 2019 – June 2020, the updated fee is $25.

Upcoming Dates of Note
Informal Review Request If you believe your property assessed value is higher than market value, you can request an Informal Assessment Review, by no later than March 31, 2020. This review request applies to single family dwellings, residential condominiums, townhouses, live-work lofts, and cooperative units. Submit requests online (preferable) or by mail. For more information and instructions, visit

San Francisco Assessor’s Family Wealth Forum - This free three-hour event is a one-stop shop for families looking for answers about asset building and estate planning. The event will include one-on-one expert counseling, multilingual workshops about affordable housing, estate planning, property tax transfers and savings for families. This event was created by San Francisco Assessor Carmen Chu and will take place in May (date and
details TBD). To register for the event, visit