With tenants in rent controlled apartments reporting offers of up to $80,000 to vacate, and unreported offers of even more, a proposed law which would require the public disclosure and tracking of all tenant buyout agreements in San Francisco, and prohibit buildings which are emptied by way of a buyout from being condo converted, could be adopted by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors next week.
Sponsored by Supervisors Avalos, Campos, Kim and Mar, with Farrell dissenting in committee, the proposed “Tenant Buyout Agreements” ordinance would:
- Require notice prior to any negotiation: The proposed ordinance would require landlords to provide tenants with written notice of the tenants’ rights and file a form with the Rent Board indicating which rental unit may be the subject of the buyout negotiations prior to commencing buyout negotiations for a rental unit. The Rent Board would make this information publicly available, except for information regarding the identity of the tenants.
- Require written agreements: The proposed ordinance would require all buyout agreements to be in writing and to include certain provisions regarding the tenants’ rights.
- Provide a 45 day rescission period for tenants: The proposed ordinance would allow tenants to rescind a buyout agreement for up to 45 days after its execution by all parties.
- Requite buyout agreements to filed with the city and made public : The proposed ordinance would require landlords to file copies of buyout agreements with the Rent Board and pay a filing fee. The Rent Board would create a searchable, publicly available database regarding buyout agreements.
- Require an annual reporting of all buyouts: The proposed ordinance would require the Rent Board to provide an annual report to the Board of Supervisors regarding tenant buyouts.
- Allow for monetary and civil penalties for failing to comply: The proposed ordinance would allow tenants to bring an action in San Francisco Superior Court seeking monetary damages and civil penalties from landlords who did not provide the pre-negotiation disclosure or include in the buyout agreement the provisions regarding the tenants’ rights. The proposed ordinance would authorize nonprofit tenants’ rights organizations to bring an action in San Francisco Superior Court against landlords who failed to file buyout agreements with the Rent Board.
- Prohibit condominium conversions for units emptied by way of a buyout: The proposed ordinance would prohibit condominium conversions in buildings where a senior, disabled, or catastrophically ill tenant has vacated a unit under a buyout agreement after October 2014. The proposed ordinance would also prohibit condominium conversions in buildings where two or more tenants who are not senior, disabled, or catastrophically ill have vacated units under buyout agreements, if the agreements were entered after October 2014 and within the ten years prior to the condominium conversion application.
UPDATE: The proposed law to regulate and restrict the buyouts of tenants in San Francisco has been passed by the Board of Supervisors in a vote of 7 to 4 with Supervisors Breed, Farrell, Tang and Wiener opposing.