The San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved legislation today that gives tenants the opportunity to speak out against alleged harassment by their landlords.
Tenants who say they are being harassed can now file a hearing through the city’s Rent Board with an administrative law judge who would the determine whether the case should be taken by the city attorney or district attorney.
Before today’s legislation passed tenants could only file their complaints through Superior Court, an option many do not take because of high litigation costs, Supervisor John Avalos said.
To file a complaint things have to get so bad that a tenant can convince an attorney on damages stemming from the harassment, he said.
Tenants have complained of receiving phone calls from their landlord while at work, being locked out their homes and loud construction work with the purpose of forcing tenants out, Avalos said.
“This is setting up a fair and impartial hearing process” between tenants and landowners, Supervisor Eric Mar said.
Supervisor Norman Yee asked whether or not the process would be a method of harassment from a tenant to their landlord however Supervisor David Campos said the Rent Board provides an objective platform for both parties to share their side of the story.
“If facts don’t support the allegation the other side has an opportunity to submit evidence,” Campos said.
Avalos thanked the numerous tenant organizations that helped bring the issue to light, including grassroots group Causa Justa.
The legislation also incorporated suggestions from the San Francisco Apartment Association, Avalos said.
Jamey Padojino, Bay City News