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Tenant Protection Boost Proposed

When San Francisco landlords want to demolish a rental unit they own, they have to notify their tenants. That is not the case, however, if those units are unpermitted; current law gives them no such warning, and District Eight Supervisor Scott Wiener set out to fix that with legislation he introduced in early June.

In a housing crisis, “job one is to keep people stable in the housing they have,” said Wiener. “Tens of thousands of San Franciscans currently live in apartments that can be demolished without even notifying the resident ahead of time. This major loophole in our tenant notice law is unacceptable and needs to be closed. We’re talking about people’s homes, and people should receive notice if the owner wants to demolish their units.”

His proposed legislation would require notice to be given to all tenants in a property, regardless of the permit status of the units. Tenants would then have the ability to appeal to the Board of Permit Appeals.

“These secondary units remain some of the most affordable housing in San Francisco,” said Debra Walker, the tenant representative on the Building Inspection Commission. “This early notification will protect tenants and encourage property owners to legalize these units instead of demolishing them. That is our priority — legalizing and preserving these units and trying to avoid displacement in the process.”

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