Supes consider slamming door on ‘Gotcha’ evictions

San Francisco supervisors on Tuesday will consider new tenant protections that will make it harder for landlords to evict tenants for minor violations or raise the rent on units after some types of evictions.

The legislation, introduced by Supervisor Jane Kim and backed by supervisors John Avalos, Eric Mar and David Campos, would make it harder for landlords to raise the rent or evict tenants when they bring in roommates, so long as the total number of occupants remains within set limits.

Landlords would have the right to refuse requests to add roommates on “reasonable” grounds, as determined by the Rent Board.

It would also make it harder for landlords to evict tenants for minor violations without first giving them a chance to correct the violation, and increase tenant notification requirements for such violations and evictions. Landlords would be required to provide the notice in the primary language of the tenant, among other changes.

The ability of landlords to raise the rent after no-fault evictions would also be limited by the new legislation. In the case of an owner move-in eviction, for instance, if a unit was re-rented within five years, the rent would remain the same as at the time of the eviction.

Jonathan Scott Weaver, an attorney with the San Francisco Tenants Union, said his group has seen an increase in evictions by landlords for minor and technical issues:

“We’ve had a number of what we call low-fault or ‘gotcha’ evictions.”

The provision allowing tenants to add roommates has drawn particular opposition from groups representing apartment owners and will be heard separately at the request of Supervisor Scott Wiener, Weaver noted. He said the issue came up most often in the context of couples trying to move in with each other.

The Board of Supervisors meet Tuesday at 2 p.m. at San Francisco City Hall.