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SF Neighborhoods

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Renters/Tenants and GBDs

Renters have zero votes in the petition or final vote in establishing the Green Benefit Districts(GBD).

There is a good chance that any assessment paid by your landlord will eventually be passed on to their renters.

Topic No. 322: Operating and Maintenance Expense Petitions

When the annual allowable increase does not completely cover the landlord’s yearly increase in operating and maintenance expenses for a property, a landlord may petition for an additional base rent increase of up to 7%. This is known as an Operating and Maintenance or O&M increase. In determining whether an O&M increase is justified, all operating expenses must be considered, including: property taxes, debt service or mortgage, repairs, maintenance, insurance, pest control, garbage, water, etc. https://sfrb.org/topic-no-322-operating-and-maintenance-expense-petitions

There are more specific details on the webpage as to the how's and when's landlords can petition the Rent Board on increasing rent.

In this pdf e-mail exchange.

My understanding, based off conversations with Manu, is that it depends on the language in the lease. Additionally, it is a landlord/tenant issue so the City will not get involved. Is that your understanding as well? Regards, Chris Corgas, MPA

Manu Pradhan is a Deputy City Attorney

Your response is exactly how I understand it, and (in a slightly more verbose response), how I responded to Isabel last Tuesday. It's a private issue between the landlord and tenant ‐‐ not a City issue. While a new special benefit assessment levy can run afoul in existing rent‐controlled units, it's entirely dependent on their lease structure. Since I'm not an authorized legal expert to weigh‐in on the matter, each agreement should be carefully reviewed by the landlord and/or tenant. Any targeted questions regarding the unique structure of a specific landlord‐tenant lease should be relayed to an attorney for additional clarification. Just called Isabel to help get to the bottom of her questions. Thanks again for the FYI! Cheers, Jonathan (Goldberg, Green Benefit Manager)

Article 15A (Green Benefit District Legislation) is part of San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code. Article 15A has no language in it that exempts pass through to tenants even under rent control. It could have been passed stating that GBD assessments could not be passed on to renters.

In the Mission Dolores GBD (MDGBD) engineering report states on page 14 of document (page 17 in pdf):

Each parcel will specially benefit from:
• Cleaner sidewalks, streets and common areas
• Real and perceived public safety improvements
• Greater pedestrian traffic
• Enhanced rental incomes
• Improved business climate
• New business and investment
• Well managed GBD programs and services

Note that GBDs will "Enhance rental incomes".
As far as renters are concerned, they should have a talk with their landlords about which way the landlord should vote on the ISGBD. This goes for even the big commercial landlords. If enough renters get together and express their feelings, they will probably follow. Also remember, all GBDs have to eventually be approved by the Board of Supervisors who are voted by all the citizens of San Francisco with a 1 equals 1 vote. So eventually, renters can vote Supervisors out if they approve of GBDs.

One of the things about paying on a “per project bases” for projects and services to make the neighborhood better is that renters can also participate along with property owners.

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