San Francisco supervisors today passed new tenant protections making it harder to evict renters or raise the rent after some evictions and making it easier for tenants to add roommates.
Introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim, the bill dubbed “Tenant Protections 2.0” makes it harder for landlords to evict tenants for minor violations without giving them a chance to correct the violation, and increased tenant notification requirements. It also limited the ability of landlords to raise the rent on units after no-fault evictions such as owner move-ins.
Those changes drew unanimous support from the board, but a provision making it easier for tenants to add roommates proved more controversial. Landlords would still have the ability to object to roommates in some instances, but could not set what Kim referred to as “arbitrary” occupancy limits below city housing and fire codes.
Supervisor Scott Wiener asked the board to consider the roommate question separately.
“I would be supportive of bringing in one additional roommate, but if a person rents a two-bedroom unit and immediately brings in three roommates without any say-so for the landlord, that affects every person in that building,” Wiener said. “I think it will have unintended consequences.”
Other supervisors, however, argued that the provision was important for affordability.
“The only way a lot of people can live in San Francisco is because they have a lot of people living in an apartment,” Supervisor David Campos, who co-sponsored the legislation, said. “That’s the way that folks are able to afford to live in San Francisco.”
The roommate provisions ultimately passed 7-4, with supervisors Mark Farrell, Katy Teng, Wiener and Norman Yee opposed.
Kim said the increased tenant protections were necessary because housing and tenant groups were seeing an increase in what they referred to as low-fault or “gotcha” evictions over the past year, targeting tenants for minor violations such as hanging up laundry.
She noted that protecting renters was crucial in a city that, according to a recent report, was losing affordable rent-controlled housing almost as quickly as it was adding new housing.
“Anti-eviction work is just as important as efforts to construct additional housing,” Kim said.
Sara Gaiser, Bay City News