Mayor Lee Signs Residential Rent Legislation for Good Samaritan Temporary Occupancy

Supervisor Scott Wiener Champions Ordinance for Reduced Rent after Emergency Tenant Dislocation

04/28/11— Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced today that he has signed into law an amendment to San Francisco’s administrative code that will ensure tenants whose homes are uninhabitable after earthquakes, fires or other disasters can find temporary housing at the same rental rate. 

Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced this Good Samaritan occupancy law allowing landlords to offer temporary housing at reduced rental rates in the aftermath of man-made or natural disasters without impacting their ability to later charge market rate rents.

“We have seen families displaced after fires or other disasters and we want to make sure that they can find temporary housing so they can begin the recovery process,” said Mayor Lee. “This good government law protects tenant rights and helps us ensure that families can continue to live and thrive in our City even after a disaster. Thank you to Supervisor Wiener and the Board of Supervisors who have all seen these tragic events affect the residents in their districts. I applaud the tenant and landlord groups for stepping up when people need help the most.”

“After an earthquake or other disaster, the most important immediate need will be access to affordable temporary housing for those who have been displaced,” said Supervisor Wiener. “Moreover, our rent-controlled housing stock is among our most seismically vulnerable. This legislation makes it much easier for property owners to provide affordable temporary housing to tenants who have been displaced. I’m proud to have worked with both tenant and landlord groups to make this law a reality.”

The Residential Rent Ordinance amends the San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 37 Residential Rent Arbitration and Stabilization Ordinance to provide for temporary Good Samaritan occupancy with a reduced rental rate. When a tenant unexpectedly vacates a residential rental unit due to an emergency such as fire, earthquake, or landslide, the amendments permit a Good Samaritan landlord to enter into a written agreement with that displaced tenant for a replacement unit with temporary reduced rent for a specified period of time up to 12 months, which could later be extended up to a total of 24 months. To qualify for Good Samaritan occupancy and reduced rent, a specified City official must certify that a tenant had to move because for public health, safety and habitability reasons.

The Ordinance is an instrumental part of the City’s efforts to provide relief to residents displaced by emergencies or disasters. The Ordinance, co-sponsored by Supervisors Scott Wiener, Mark Farrell and David Chiu, passed the Board of Supervisors on April 26th.