A package of very progressive rent laws that would put stricter controls on landlords’ abilities to raise rents passed the full Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. But with promises of a mayoral veto and dispute over a potential conflict of interest on the Board, the laws may have to wait for intervention from the Fair Political Practices Commission if they are ever to become law.
Dubbed the Renters Economic Relief Package by author Supervisor Chris Daly, the four laws are almost guaranteed to be vetoed by Mayor Gavin Newsom (who said via Twitter some months ago that he opposes them). One of the laws — which would put a cap on “banked”, or delayed, rent increases — passed the full board by a 7-3 vote, but the other three — a limit on increasing rents to 33 percent of a tenants’ income; allowing tenants to add roommates without landlord’s permission and prohibiting a subsequent rent increase — passed by only a 6-4 vote, with Supervisor Bevan Dufty the fourth nay, and Supervisor Sophie Maxwell recusing herself.
Legislation needs eight votes out of eleven supervisors to override a Mayoral veto.
Maxwell — who owns six rental units in her district, according to the San Francisco Tenants Union — recused herself in committee last month after consulting with the City Attorney. Her decision to do so was appealed to the Fair Political Practices Commission. The FPPC is expected to deliver a decision on July 8, at which time Maxwell could be compelled to participate in a vote to override the expected Mayoral veto.
Dufty voted for the limits on “banked” increases because it fits with existing policy at the Mayor’s Office of Housing; the other three would make it “onerous” to own property in San Francisco and could have “unintended consequences.”
“There are already 10,000 vacant units in San Francisco not on the market,” he pointed out. Restricting the abilities of landlords to impose market rents could keep even more units off of the market and deplete the housing stock, thereby driving rents up and tenants out, he said.
Dufty has declared interest in running for Mayor in 2011. He has never received endorsement from the Tenants’ Union.