It has been a painful spring, 2020. We’ve been attacked by a virus that spread all over the world and has altered our social and business lives in ways we never could have foreseen. Then, we witnessed the appalling death of George Floyd. Righteously enraged people took to the streets to protest and demand changes in our society. Sadly, in their wake came destruction and looting of businesses and institutions that employ and support all of us.
As owners of rental property, we supply renters with a basic human need – housing. Judging by comments we’ve received from you, we don’t want to cause further anguish to those who have lost income due to the double tragedies occurring right now. Many of us have offered reduced rents, rebates, and payment plans to our renters who are experiencing real financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.
The Rent Board published an agreement form to accommodate such arrangements to allow temporary rent reductions. Yet, despite all these proactive steps, our elected officials at both the state and local level, never ones to miss an opportunity to bash landlords and gain political bragging rights, have issued emergency orders and passed legislation that doesn’t just target the bad actors, but violates the constitutional rights of all of us.
Challenging Blanket Anti-Eviction Rules
In response to the California Judicial Council’s Emergency Rule 1 that effectively stops all evictions for the duration of the COVID‐19 emergency and 90 days thereafter, the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) wrote a letter stating that the Rule violates the constitutional rights of property owners, and “creates the perverse incentive for all tenants, whether they face financial hardship or not, to refuse to pay their rent during the crisis.”
PLF also recently filed a lawsuit against the Judicial Council in Kern County Superior Court, Christensen v. Judicial Council of California, challenging the constitutionality of the Emergency Rule.
In San Francisco, SPOSFI, together with [other organizations], sent a letter to the San
Francisco Board of Supervisors, authored by attorney Andrew Zacks of Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, stating our constitutional and legal objections to Ordinance No. 200375 – legislation it was considering that went farther than the Governor’s temporary emergency suspension of evictions. The legislation, which, not surprisingly, passed 10 to 1, (with only Supervisor Catherine Stefani voting NO), denies us access to the courts permanently to recover unpaid rents.
“Prop. 21” Must Be Defeated!
We continue to work with our statewide and national affiliate groups to promote legislation that would give rent support either to renters or directly to owners.
Also, we are continuing our fundraising to fight the new legislation [Prop. 21] from Michael Weinstein that goes even farther than 2018’s Prop. 10. We will continue to ask and badger you (gently) for contributions to the statewide campaign to fight his effort to destroy our livelihoods and, consequently, force many of us to leave the rental business and sell our property as owner-occupied units (resulting in fewer rental units, something tenant advocates don’t seem to consider). Please try to donate soon, and then you can delete all further requests. It’s as simple as that.
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 www.smallprop.org or call (415) 647-2419.