Get Smart

Mark March 18th on your calendar for the SFAA Hoedown Tradeshow. Attendees will benefit from free education classes and networking with industry professionals.

Mark Monday, March 18 on your calendar for the annual SFAA tradeshow. The event will take place at the Fort Mason Conference Building, Gallery 308, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.

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, attend the free educational classes (see schedule below), 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!

  • Don’t miss the following free education classes:
  • 4:00 - 5:00: Ask Greg Miller of the San Francisco Rent Board your questions about pass throughs, rent increases, mediation services, and other Rent Board topics. Please feel free to submit questions in advance to the SFAA office.
  • 5:00 - 6:00: Ask Jamie Sanbonmatsu of the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection your questions about notices of violation and how to remedy them, what city inspectors are looking for during inspections, and more.
  • 6:00 - 7:00: Hear from companies that can improve your bottom line and increase your overall effectiveness. Intellirent will talk about their no-cost tenant-screening and marketing services and Liveable will present their utility bill-back program (implemented at the start of tenancies), designed to fairly distribute utility costs among tenancies and better conservation practices. 

Please note that the tradeshow will replace the March member meeting.

For more information on the tradeshow or to become a sponsor, contact Turn to page 39 for more details.

Bay Area Homelessness Update
In a State of the City address at the National LGBTQ Center for the Arts earlier in the year, Mayor London Breed talked about the three navigation centers that had opened in the previous six months, adding 338 beds. Mayor Breed added that there’s potential to add 1,000 more beds within the year, which would take care of the current shelter bed waitlist. She made note of increased investments in street cleaning, beat officers, and mental health stabilization beds.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors also came to a tentative agreement of how to spend $181 million in windfall money, potentially earmarking $45 million for homelessness and homeless health support. $15 million will go toward new emergency homeless shelters, $15 million will fund supportive housing for the formally homeless, $9.4 million is planned to support health recovery beds, and finally, $6.4 million will expand the city’s navigation centers. Notably, another $111 million will go toward purchasing land for developing and upgrading affordable housing.

And there’s more money coming in to help with cleaning up the city. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $149 million for Bay Area homeless assistance programs. Of this money, San Francisco received $40.7 million to fund 53 projects. 

Mayor Breed has also created a new position within the city: Director of Mental Health Reform. In her address, she said, “This person will be responsible for better coordination of mental health care for those suffering in our city. This person will strengthen the programs that are working and yes, cut the ineffective programs because clearly there are things in this city that just aren’t working and shouldn’t continue to be funded.” She also announced new hire Dr. Grant Colfax as San Francisco’s new Director of Public Health. Formerly, Colfax was the Director of National AIDS Policy for the Obama Administration.

As for new affordable housing projects, Mayor Breed said, “No more bureaucracy. No more costly appeals. No more ‘not in my neighborhood.’” She plans to propose a charter amendment for the November ballot that would streamline the construction of affordable housing, including teacher housing.

For readers wondering what they specifically can do to help ease the city’s homelessness crisis, look into the Homeless Prenatal Program and Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing (see “A Place to Call Home” and “Vouching for Veterans,” respectively, in the June 2018 archives of SF Apartment Magazine.)

PG&E Inner Richmond Gas Line Explosion
When a MasTec construction crew working on underground fiber optics hit a gas line with an excavator on the 3300 block of Geary Boulevard at Parker Avenue in the Jordan Park neighborhood, they caused a gas leak leading to a three-alarm fire. The fire damaged five buildings—residential and retail buildings, including the busy dim sum restaurant, Hong Kong Lounge II. More than 100 fire fighters were at the scene, but they had to wait about two hours for PG&E to cap the gas line before extinguishing the fire.

At the time of this writing, approximately 100 people had been displaced and an evacuation center had been set up at St. Mary’s Cathedral. No one was injured and power had been restored to the 2,500 people who were without. The National Transportation Safety Board and the state Public Utilities Commission is investigating the cause of the explosion.

“The good news is that no one was injured or hurt thanks to the quick response that happened with the San Francisco Fire Department and the San Francisco Police Department. I’m grateful for their service,” said Mayor Breed who was at the scene with District Supervisor Catherine Stefani.

Recology Recycling Outreach Program
Recology has announced the Multifamily Auto-Migration program, which they created to meet Mayor London Breed’s environmental goals of reducing municipal solid waste generation (recycling, composting, and trash) by 15% by 2030 and reducing landfill disposal and incineration by 50% by 2030.

Recology tailored this program to multifamily buildings specifically because buildings with six or more units represent the lowest-performing sector regarding refuse collection program compliance. This is due to poor tenant participation, program accessibility, and limited quality control. Through the program, poorly performing buildings will receive reduced trash service and increased recycling and composting service. Building managers and tenants will be notified by mail. They will also receive a list of resources, move-in packets for new tenants, language for lease agreements, and collateral for the program (battery buckets, kitchen pails, etc.) Building managers should also pass this information on to tenants to encourage participation.

For more information, contact Stefanie Medious at or Joanne Wu at

Vacancy Tax
Supervisor Aaron Peskin announced plans to add a vacancy tax initiative on the upcoming November ballot. Although the tax would apply to both residential and commercial vacancies, it’s part of a strategy to address empty storefronts citywide. The measure would need six votes from the Board of Supervisors to get on the ballot, and on Election Day, the measure would need two-thirds voter approval. For more on the proposed San Francisco vacancy tax, see the “SFAA Update” by Charley Goss on page 32.

Oakland voters passed a vacancy tax on the November 2018 ballot. The measure went into effect January of this year and applies to privately owned residential and commercial property and empty lots that are vacant for more than 50 days in a calendar year. The annual tax is $6,000 per parcel and $3,000 for condos and duplex units and commercial space. The tax will be added to annual property tax bills for the next 20 years.

Reminder from Port of San Francisco Fire Marshal Ken Cofflin
The deadline for R2 buildings (residential non-transient buildings) to upgrade their existing fire alarm systems to meet the 2013 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sound requirement is July 1, 2021. While this deadline is more than two years away, the San Francisco Fire Department suggests that building owners find a licensed contractor as soon as possible. As the deadline nears, it will be harder to find a contractor who can comply with the 2021 deadline, and prices could rise as demand begins to increase.

Note: If a building permit is filed for construction of $50,000 or more, it will trigger the mandatory alarm system upgrade before the 2021 deadline (unless the work is for a mandatory seismic retrofit).

Building owners should fill out the Statement of Compliance form on once they’ve met the requirements of the new code. 

SFAA January Member Meeting
The January 28th SFAA member meeting was held at the Jewish Community Center in Kanbar Hall. The meeting began with the monthly Legal Q & A, moderated by Dave Wasserman of Wasserman & Stern, followed by a welcome from Eric Andresen, SFAA board member, and a presentation from the meeting sponsor, Allison Chapleau, senior vice president at Compass Commercial Brokerage.

SFAA Board Member and President of West Coast Property Management, Eric Andresen, then took the stage to discuss changes to the 2019 SFAA lease agreement, which is now available. The updates reflect changes to local and state laws, court case rulings, and Rent Board decisions.

Stefanie Pavis-Medious of Recology then spoke to meeting attendees about two new programs to incentivize tenants and owners and managers of multi-unit buildings to reduce landfill waste (programs are detailed on page 10).

For handouts and minutes from the member meeting and more information on the legislative updates, go to