San Francisco’s Community Opportunity to Purchase Act (COPA) became effective earlier this month but the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) has clarified that sellers of multi-family residential rental properties and certain vacant lots in San Francisco will not be required to comply until September 3, 2019 (90 days after the effective date). That date is the deadline for MOHCD to release a formal implementation program, including a list of “Qualified Nonprofits” that have been granted certain rights of first offer and first refusal under COPA.

MOHCD has also confirmed that it will not require COPA compliance if a property owner has entered into a “binding contract for sale” prior to September 3, 2019. That term is not defined, but appears from the COPA legislation to include not only a binding purchase and sale agreement but possibly also other forms of contract, e.g., an option to purchase.

Although not addressed in the legislation, MOHCD has also provided guidance for property owners that list property subject to COPA for sale prior to September 3, 2019, but have not entered into a “binding contract for sale” prior to that date. Under that scenario, the yet-to-be-identified Qualified Nonprofits must be given a right of first refusal (ROFR), but not a right of first offer. Because the ROFR would be the seller’s first contact with “Qualified Nonprofits” they would presumably have 30 days (rather than five days) to respond; however, that wasn’t specified by MOHCD. The ROFR process is summarized in our March blog post and this graphic.

As reported in our May blog post, the San Francisco Apartment Association has stated that it believes the legislation is “illegal and unconstitutional,” and has indicated it plans to bring litigation against the City this year. We will be monitoring any legal developments surrounding the legislation.

Two affordable housing measures are currently proposed for the November 5, 2019 ballot: (i) City Charter and Code amendments to encourage certain 100% affordable and teacher housing projects by providing for a streamlined ministerial — i.e., no CEQA — approval process for qualified projects and (ii) an up-to $500 million affordable housing bond.

Continue Reading Two Affordable Housing Measures Proposed for November Ballot

On April 24, Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 50 passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee with bipartisan support, incorporating amendments that limit the bill’s scope. It is scheduled to be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 13. As previously reported, SB 50 mandates a combination of “equitable communities incentives” and a streamlined, ministerial approval process designed to promote housing production for qualifying projects on eligible sites. The amendments are part of a compromise agreement with Senator Mike McGuire and incorporate provisions from his previously competing measure, SB 4. Continue Reading Senator Wiener’s SB 50 Moves Forward with Compromise Amendments

View an illustrated guide to the COPA timelines

Owners of multifamily residential properties in San Francisco will soon have to extend purchase offers to certain nonprofit organizations, before making or soliciting offers to sell those properties to anyone else—and will have to give those nonprofits the right to match any offer received from a potential buyer—under new legislation that is poised to become effective in June 2019.

In the meantime, potential buyers and sellers of multifamily properties should familiarize themselves with COPA’s key provisions, which we covered here, and the applicable timelines, which we’ve illustrated in the downloadable graphic here.

Continue Reading Sellers Beware? San Francisco Adopts Community Opportunity to Purchase Act for Multifamily Properties

In 2017, the Metropolitan Transportation Committee (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) mobilized a task force of affordable housing advocates, private developers, local government officials, and other Bay Area leaders and experts to form CASA, or the Committee to House the Bay Area. CASA set out to identify a comprehensive policy response to the region’s housing crisis. Continue Reading The CASA Compact’s Response to the Bay Area Housing Crisis

Pending legislation introduced by San Francisco Supervisor Fewer would amend the City’s laws to give certain qualified non-profit organizations certified by the City (“Qualified Nonprofits”) the first right to purchase multi-family rental properties and certain vacant lots in San Francisco.  Continue Reading San Francisco’s Next Big Move in Maintaining Housing Affordability: Nonprofits’ First Right to Purchase Multi-Family Rental Properties

In February, the San Francisco Planning Department issued the first quarterly performance report for implementation of its Process Improvements Plan, a program intended to overhaul the project review process.  The Plan first took effect in June 2018 in response to an Executive Directive from the Mayor’s Office to reduce approval timelines and remove administrative barriers to housing production.  According to the Department’s quarterly progress report, the Department met its deadline for two-thirds of Preliminary Project Applications (PPAs) and 79% of Project Applications, with approximately 48% of projects receiving a Plan Check Letter within 90 days. Continue Reading Update on SF Planning Department’s Streamlined Review Procedures for Development Projects

The state of California is keeping a watchful eye on the potential land use, environmental, and social consequences of automated vehicle deployment. On November 16, 2018, the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research announced the release of “Automated Vehicle Principles for Healthy and Sustainable Communities.” This document involved staff collaboration among state agencies, including the Office of Planning and Research, the Air Resources Board, and Caltrans. Continue Reading State Agencies Release Land Use and Environmental Considerations for Automated Vehicle Deployment

Last spring, we reported on Senator Scott Wiener’s SB 827, which proposed major increases in height and density for qualifying housing developments.  Battle lines quickly emerged, with supporters claiming that the legislation was a bold, necessary solution to the housing affordability and climate change crises, and opponents asserting that it was a threat to neighborhood stability and an invitation to gentrification.  The bill was ultimately killed in Committee.  On December 3, Senator Wiener introduced SB 50Continue Reading Senator Wiener Introduces Recrafted Legislation Providing Height and Density Bonuses, Other Incentives for “Transit-Rich” and “Jobs-Rich” Projects