SF Apartment : August 2016
Fielding Five-Alarm Fires
On June 18th, a five-alarm fire spread across six buildings on the 3300 block of Mission Street in Bernal Heights. The fire displaced 58 people, including nine children, and six community merchants were forced to close shop.
In response to this fire—as well as the five other major fires that have displaced close to 200 residents of the Mission and Bernal Heights neighborhoods over the last two years—the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has proposed new legislation.
Supervisor Scott Weiner proposed a measure that would give preference to San Francisco residents displaced by fire (similar to those evicted by the Ellis Act) when applying for affordable housing.
Supervisor Katy Tang is pushing for legislation that would require owners of buildings with three or more units to prominently display fire safety information. And for buildings with 16 or more units, she proposes tenant fire prevention and safety training.
In April, after the devastating fire on 22nd and Mission Streets, Supervisors David Campos and Jane Kim proposed legislation that would require building owners to install better fire alarms and make fire-safety improvements to prevent fires from spreading across buildings. Additionally, Board of Supervisors President London Breed proposed legislation that would provide city-mandated funding to San Francisco residents (who earn 100 percent AMI—$71,350 or less) displaced by fire.
According to fire officials, a number of factors could be causing the high number of fires in the Mission, including the neighborhood’s high density, lack of space between buildings, wood-framed buildings, and housing stock built before stringent codes were put in place.
The SFAA would like to remind its members about the Good Samaritan program, which allows owners to help those in need without creating a permanent residency. Under the Good Samaritan program, sponsored in 2011 by Supervisor Scott Wiener, temporary tenancies for displaced tenants are at the tenants’ rent-controlled rates (or a negotiable rate) until the repairs are made or when a one- or two-year term expires. At that point, the landlord would have the opportunity to raise the rent to market value should the tenant want to stay in the replacement unit.
SFAA members were able to house almost all of the displaced residents through the Good Samaritan Program.
A special thank you to our generous members who were able to help in a time of need.
Please call or email Government and Community Affairs Director Charley Goss at the SFAA office at 415-255-2288 x 14 or email him at email@example.com if you have a vacancy you would like to use to house a displaced tenant.
To help the local business owners of the June 18th fire recover and relocate, donate to The Mission Bernal Merchant’s Association at http://www.mbmasf.org/.
Prop. 55 Tax Extension Added to Fall Ballot
A 12-year extension to Prop. 30 has been added to the November 8th statewide ballot. The measure, passed in 2012, added a temporary income tax on Californians earning more than $250,000 (or heads of households earning more than $340,000 and couples earning more than $500,000). The measure is currently set to expire in 2018.
The funds primarily support public education, K-12 and community colleges. According to Gov. Jerry Brown, without the 12-year extension, California would face a deficit of $4 billion by 2019, largely due to rising healthcare and education costs.
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, 62% of likely voters support the measure. Prop. 55 is supported by the California Teacher’s Association, Service Employees International Union, and the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, while the California Chamber of Congress is against it.
Santa Clara Property Tax to Fight Homelessness
The Santa Clara Board of Supervisors voted to add an initiative on the Fall 2016 ballot that would raise countywide property taxes to fund housing for low-income and homeless residents.
The property tax would raise $950 million over 30 years and would equate to $12.66 per $100,000 of assessed property value. The intention of the initiative is to prevent low-income families from becoming homeless as housing costs continue to soar. According to the California Housing Partnership, the South Bay needs close to 70,000 housing units to meet the current demand of low-income families.
A 2015 regional census stated that 6,556 homeless lived in Santa Clara County.
Supervisor Cindy Chavez says the ballot has a chance of reaching the two-thirds vote needed to pass. “For the first time in recent memory, voters see housing as the most important problem facing Santa Clara County. The need for housing, the voters’ concern, and an upcoming high turnout election have converged—this is the housing moment.”
Specifically, the bond will be used to “provide affordable local housing for vulnerable populations including veterans, seniors, the disabled, low-income individuals and families, foster youth, victims of abuse, the homeless, and individuals suffering from mental health and substance abuse illnesses.”
June 20th SFAA Members Meeting
The June 20th SFAA member meeting, held at the Fort Mason Center, was sponsored by Recology and moderated by David Wasserman of Wasserman & Stern.
The meeting began with the monthly Legal Q & A, followed by a welcome and legislative update from Janan New, SFAA Executive Director; and guest speakers Craig Berendt of Berent Properties, Deborah Brown of J. Wavro Associates, and J. J. Panzer of Real Management Company.
The guest speakers shared insight for getting the best renters at the best prices in current market conditions, where inventory is up and demand is down. The panel emphasized the importance of pristine common areas, staged with modern furniture and hardware, flowers, and mirrors. They advised property owners to consider adding amenities such as coin-operated laundry, bicycle racks, and storage. The panel also urged landlords to consider holding off on rent increases in order to keep great tenants from leaving, creating new vacancies.
For handouts from the member meeting, go to www.sfaa.org/calendar.
Mandatory Soft-Story Retrofit Reminder
Department of Building Inspection (DBI) Director Tom Hui would like to remind property owners of Tier-2 properties—three stories and 15 or more residential units—to turn in the required permit application in advance of September 15, 2016, the deadline to comply with the second step of the Mandatory Soft-Story Program. This program requires owners of wood-frame buildings with three stories, 5-units or more, and a vulnerable ground floor to seismically strengthen their building.
Over the last year, more than 35% of 550+ properties have complied in advance of the September 15 deadline and will avoid DBI code enforcement action. However, 65% or 350+ property owners have yet to turn in the required permit application.
The September 15 Tier-2 deadline is fast-approaching. Find out if your property is on the list and what steps you need to take to comply in advance of the September deadline by visiting DBI online at sfdbi.org/softstory or calling the hotline (415) 558-6699. Failure to comply by September 15 will result in DBI code enforcement proceedings that may include monetary penalties along with the posting of an Earthquake Warning placard on the non-compliant property.