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Federal Legislation governing rent assistance presented states with three options: State Rental Assistance Program, the Block Grant Option, or having part of the state allocation distributed through local jurisdictions. California chose to run the program in smaller jurisdictions, but offered larger jurisdictions the ability to elect to run their own programs.
State to Administer Pay-Outs
San Francisco opted to directly administer half the funds allocated for the City and County, with the remainder administered directly by the State. Therefore, San Franciscans could apply either to the State, or locally. But the locally-administered component of the program has provided relief for both owners and renters at a glacial pace.
After discussions with state authorities, San Francisco opted to transfer its rent relief program to a Block Grant Option, which essentially means that state will run the San Francisco program.
Talk of “Wave of Evictions” Overblown
Despite the talk of a “wave of evictions,” we don’t want to throw renters out. The ones who do need to pack their bags ASAP are those who have continued to draw their incomes, but flat out refuse to pay for their housing or cooperate with owners.
There seems to be much, probably deserved, sympathy for other small businesses, cafés, and boutiques, that have suffered. But somehow, residential rental property owners do not garner that type of consideration. What if those struggling restaurants were forced to go on serving meals to customers who refused to pay but who were allowed to bring their friends in for a free meal also, … for as long as they cared to continue dining? In fact, Supervisor Dean Preston recently introduced legislation that would force certain commercial owners to “eat” the unpaid rent of their tenants.
Extortionist Buyouts Scare Away Investors
We recently were treated to breathless news reports of an owner being effectively extorted into paying a $475,000 bounty to regain possession of an apartment occupied by people who had already received discounted rent for years due to San Francisco’s draconian rent control laws. The final insult came when the tenant lawyer referred dismissively to the owner’s huge payout as “chump change.” This sort of attitude is part of the reason for our perennial shortage of rentals, because most people who pay this extortion will never invest in rentals in San Francisco again. Thank you to members who have joined me in supporting the lawsuit against certain state rent moratoria. The most important intent of the lawsuit is to prevent further assaults on our small businesses.
Please stay healthy and stay tuned! Hope to see you all soon at a live meeting!
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.