SF Apartment : September 2016


Composting Champions

In its green-bin composting program, San Francisco has kept more than one million tons of food scraps and yard trimmings out of landfills and, instead, turned that compostable material into nutrient-rich compost for local farms and vineyards. This program also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves soil health, two huge environmental benefits.

But now San Francisco needs your help to address an important challenge. The City and Recology are asking all properties to please make sure that no glass bottles get tossed into green composting collection bins. Keeping glass out of your green compost bins achieves two great outcomes. One, it helps make sure the finished compost is free of glass, which can shatter into hundreds of small pieces. Farmers spread the finished compost on their fields, but glass does not break down like food scraps or plant cuttings. Two, it helps building owners manage disposal costs by preserving the diversion discount (a credit that apartment buildings get off their monthly bill for consistently recycling and composting more of their trash). Buildings that have glass in composting bins are subject to losing the monthly discount they receive for participating in the compost program.

How can property owners control what tenants are putting into the green composting bins? Post “No Glass” stickers on or around the compost collection bins in your building. You can receive these stickers by calling Recology at (415) 330-1300 or emailing through RecologySF.com/contact-us. Inform tenants by posting instructional posters in common areas, which are available at http://www.recologysf.com/for-homes/property-managers-lounge. We also recommend that property managers spot-check their compost bins, and if glass is found, send a group email to tenants. There are articles and newsletters available on Recology’s website that we encourage landlords to email to their tenants.

Recology drivers are trained to leave a notice if they see glass bottles or trash in green bins. Customers who receive several cart hangers have a problem that needs to be corrected. Please remember, one or two glass bottles in a green bin can shatter and cause real challenges at the compost facility.

So, what is compostable? Coffee grounds, a dense, nutrient-rich material, are a particularly good material to compost. Vegetable peelings, egg shells, chicken bones, and other food scraps all add to the diversity of the feedstock San Francisco utilizes to make compost. Residents should also compost food-soiled paper, such as used paper napkins, which are compostable and absorb moisture, helping to control potential odors. Plastics are not compostable and should be thrown in blue recycling bins.

Recycling and composting keep materials out of landfills, save trees, and create jobs. Further, composting improves soil health, which helps farms grow healthy fruits and vegetables. Good quality compost by weight is 50 percent humus, a natural sponge that both attracts and retains water, so applying compost helps farms save tremendous amounts of water.

Some vineyards use compost made from food scraps collected in San Francisco to grow cover crops, such as mustard, that pull carbon out of the atmosphere. This technique further improves soil health and can turn farms into carbon sinks. 
To learn more, watch the short film Soil Solutions to Climate Program produced by The Center for Food Safety and narrated by Michael Pollen. To view the film, go to soilsolution.org. For more information about San Francisco’s compost collection program, go to recologysf.com and sfenvironment.org.

Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

The ADU ordinance passed the final vote by the Board of Supervisors. It will now head to Mayor Ed Lee for approval to become law.

The ordinance allows building owners to convert parts of their buildings, such as garages or other unused space, into rentable units. The ordinance allows owners of buildings with more than five units to add unlimited rent-controlled units and allows owners of buildings of fewer than five units to add one unit. The intent of the ordinance is to add more affordable housing stock. ADUs in condo buildings that have been eviction-free for ten years will not be rent controlled.

According to Supervisor Aaron Peskin, “This law will help realize thousands of new permanently rent-controlled units, protect and promote neighborhood character and diversity, and will make a meaningful impact in our city’s housing shortage and crisis.”

Visit the Planning Department’s website for a detailed guidebook to assist homeowners and contractors when adding a unit to an existing residential building.

Fire Protections Approved

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved three proposals intended to 
protect tenants in the aftermath of devastating fires.

Supervisor Scott Weiner’s measure will give preference in the affordable housing lottery to those displaced by fire.

Supervisor David Campos’s measure requires building owners to upgrade fire-alarm systems by 2021 to install fire blocks in buildings with more than six units to prevent fires from spreading to neighboring buildings. Further, if the estimated cost of compliance is more than $50,000, landlords are expected to make these upgrades immediately. Campos’s measure also requires landlords to provide tenants with a “plan of action,” consisting of the steps that will be taken in the event of a fire, such as reconstruction procedures and a list of contact information for tenants. Landlords must also notify tenants of smoke alarm requirements and maintenance updates, and file biannual compliance reports with the city.

Supervisor Katy Tang’s measure requires owners of buildings with three or more units to supply tenants with proper fire safety information. Owners of buildings with 16 or more units will be required to hold fire-safety training for tenants and, similar to Campos’s regulation, will also have to inform tenants of the building’s fire safety features and maintenance updates.

Trophy Awards

The 10th Annual San Francisco Apartment Association Trophy Awards are quickly approaching. The event will take place on Thursday, November 10, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at the St. Regis in San Francisco. The Trophy Awards honors the firms, employees, and properties leading San Francisco’s Rental Housing Community.

Tickets are $250 per attendee and can be purchased at http://www.sfaa.org/events.shtml. See page 35 for more information, including sponsorship details.

July 18th SFAA Members Meeting

The July 18th SFAA member meeting, held at the Jewish Community Center in Kanbar Hall, was sponsored by Servpro of the Sunset and moderated by David Wasserman of Wasserman & Stern.

The meeting began with the monthly Legal Q & A, followed by a welcome from Eric Andresen, SFAA Board President; a legislative update from Janan New, SFAA Executive Director; and an informative tenant attorney panel featuring Jackie Ravenscroft and Joseph Tobener of Tobener Law Center, Daniel Wayne of Law Offices of Daniel W. Wayne, PC, and Andrew Westly of Westly Law Office.

The panel delivered legal commentary from the perspective of San Francisco tenants, which focused on habitability issues, such as mold and other forms of neglect; wrongful evictions, such as the failure to move into a unit within the timeframe in an owner move-in; and constructive evictions, when a tenant feels they were forced to leave a residence due to a landlord’s neglect. The panel urged landlords to take seriously their tenants’ requests and complaints, and to address them quickly; to purchase proper home insurance; and to always hire an attorney before considering an eviction.

Housing Hero Awards

The San Francisco Housing Action Coalition will celebrate the 14th Annual Housing Hero Awards on September 28th at the War Memorial and Performing Arts Center. The event celebrates individuals who make exceptional contributions to creating more housing opportunities for San Franciscans. This year’s honorees are District 4 Supervisor Katy Tang and journalist Kim-Mai Cutler. Ticket and sponsorship information can be found at www.sfhac.org/event/hha2016.

Calling All Writers!

SF Apartment Magazine would like to bid farewell to our Onsite Insight columnist, Theodore. A sincere thank you for delighting and informing us over the last six years with wit-filled humor, dependable advice, and the overall trials and tribulations of life as a San Francisco resident manager. The best of luck in your future endeavors, Theodore! (Don’t miss Theodore’s final column in the upcoming October issue.)

And now, if you’re a San Francisco resident or property manager with a lot to say, we’d love for you to continue Theodore’s legacy. If this sounds like you, and you have the writing skills to back it up, please contact the magazine’s editor, Pam McElroy, at pam@blackpointpress.com. The column runs trimonthly, and the new columnist’s first article will print in the January 2017 issue.