This article was posted on Tuesday, Jun 01, 2021

As the pandemic slowly winds down, we face numerous challenges in maintaining our property, often with reduced or even zero income to pay the bills.  The pandemic is winding down, but many of our members are still suffering. Some of us anticipate eventually receiving some government-funded relief after jumping through many hoops, including working with renters to submit forms, and the prospect of receiving reduced rents and never being able to recoup our losses. Some owners have chosen to occupy their rentals themselves or do renovations for later rental rather than reduce their asking rents.

The effects of the past year’s COVID-19 crisis are worldwide, but local rental housing, our focus, has suffered, and we must get our experiences into the consciousness of both fellow citizens and government agencies.

Beware the Section 8 Lawsuit Trap!

There is an entrapment scheme circulating targeting small property owners that can be a very expensive lesson in property management.  As I mentioned in the introduction to our most recent legal panel, a Section 8 recipient and her rapacious attorney have teamed up to catch property owners who don’t respond correctly to questions about whether they accept Section 8 applicants.  The short answer is JUST SAY YES: “We will certainly accept the application, and will consider the Section 8 subsidy as part of the applicant’s income.” 

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Based on recent legislation, it is illegal to discriminate against applicants based on their source of income.

AB 854 Pulled for This Year

We have good news from Sacramento. AB 854, which sought to limit the Ellis Act that permits owners to go out of the rental business, has been pulled from consideration for this legislative session. This bill purports to stop renters from displacement by speculators who buy rental buildings and clear the building to sell it.

It is our right to go out of business. Owners who use the Ellis Act are not all speculators. My neighbor bought a four-unit building to occupy with his family and three renters. One of the renters was doing an unauthorized sublet and menaced the new owner. Finally, my neighbor reluctantly used the Ellis Act and was forced to displace the other two renters as well.

Stuff happens, and we should be allowed this right that every other business enjoys.


Reprinted with permission of the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute (SPOSFI) News.  For more information on becoming a member of SPOSFI or to send a tax-deductible donation, please visit their website at or call (415) 647-2419.