As reported in SF Gate and SocketSite, SF Supervisor Chris Daly plans to introduce a series of laws that are intended to help tenants in this time of economic crisis, and accordingly will anger landlords.
The proposals include the suspension of any rent increases that would cause a tenant’s rent to exceed one-third of their income; expansion of the rights of tenants who want to add roommates to help pay their rent; and limiting the amount of “banked” rent increases — where annual rent increases allowed under city laws are saved up and then imposed at one time — to 8 percent.
With our country nationalizing a piece (or more) of just about every bank, it should be anticipated that this type of legislation would at least be discussed. However, I can see landlords’ angry resistance to this type of maternal/paternal legislation, since the free market is such a big part of our economy, and let’s be honest, our culture. As counterpoint to Supervisor Daly’s planned legislation, arguments can be made (here and here) that the market will work itself out if allowed.
On January 21, 2009, a group of individuals and housing industry organizations were successful in obtaining a Stay of Enforcement from the Superior Court of San Francisco Judge Paul H. Alvarado. The judge “granted the Petitioners’ ex parte application and ordered that Sections 37.2 and 37.10B(a)(6), (7) and (8), all related to a landlords right to free speech, be stayed until a final determination on the merits of Petitioners’ writ of mandate.” (source)
Judge Alvarado ordered the following sections of Proposition M, relating to the curtailment of free speech, be stayed:
* Section 37.2 is the new provision of the Rent Ordinance that defines housing service to include “quiet enjoyment of the premises, without harassment by the landlord as provided in Section 10B”.
* Section 37.10B(a)(6) prohibits “attempts to coerce the tenant to vacate with offer(s) of payments to vacate which are accompanied with threats or intimidation”.
* Section 37.10B(a)(7) prohibits “continuing to offer payments to vacate after tenant has notified the landlord in writing that they no longer wish to receive further offers of payments to vacate”.
* Section 37.10B(a)(6) prohibits landlords from “threatening the tenant, by words or gesture, with physical harm”.