On Tuesday, February 11, 2020, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved several amendments to San Francisco’s tenant buyout ordinance, which is part of the San Francisco Rent Ordinance. Introduced by Supervisor Hillary Ronen, the amendments, which include defining certain eviction lawsuit settlements as buyout agreements and allowing tenants to cancel a buyout agreement not timely filed with the San Francisco Rent Board, are designed to keep tenants housed, and close common exploitative loopholes utilized by landlords during tenant buyout negotiations.

The amendments make the following changes to the San Francisco Tenant Buyout Ordinance:

  1. Broadens the scope of the tenant buyout ordinance to classify certain eviction lawsuit settlement agreements as Buyout Agreements;
  2. Amends the San Francisco Rent Board tenant buyout disclosure form that landlords must give tenants before commencing buyout negotiations;
  3. Requires landlords to provide tenants the mandatory tenant buyout disclosure form at least 30 days before executing a buyout agreement;
  4. Requires identifying information about the buyout unit in the final buyout agreement, including street address and APN; and,
  5. Empowers a tenant to invalidate any waivers or releases in a buyout agreement when the landlord fails to timely file the buyout agreement with the San Francisco Rent Board.

Adopted in 2014, the San Francisco Tenant Buyout Law, codified at San Francisco Administrative Code section 37.9E, increases fairness for tenants negotiating buyouts with landlords and empowers San Francisco to collect critical buyout data. For the past five years, landlords have devised several loopholes designed to ensure they retain power throughout the tenant buyout process, including through shotgun buyout negotiations that pressure tenants into accepting a low tenant buyouts under the terror of no-fault evictions. These imperative changes seek to close common exploitative loopholes utilized by landlords during tenant buyouts in San Francisco.

The 2020 amendments to the San Francisco Tenant Buyout Ordinance head to final passage by the board. Barring mayoral veto – which appears unlikely – they will become law shortly.

To discuss the San Francisco Tenant Buyout Ordinance, San Francisco Rent Ordinance, or California Rent Control, contact Astanehe Law to speak with an attorney today.