The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the commercial real estate market, and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is pursuing relief for certain categories of commercial tenants, including adoption of an ordinance creating a rebuttable presumption that a commercial tenant’s legally required shutdown excuses rent owed for the shutdown period.

We previously reported on San Francisco’s eviction protection for “Covered Commercial Tenants,” which are tenants (1) registered to do business in San Francisco, and (2) with combined worldwide gross receipts for tax year 2019 equal to or below $25 million. Covered Commercial Tenants do not include for-profit entities occupying space in property zoned or approved for Office Use, nor entities leasing property from the City and County of San Francisco.

Covered Commercial Tenants are currently protected from evictions for COVID-19 related missed rent payments that came due between March 16, 2020 and September 30, 2021. After September 30, 2021, unless the Governor further extends his executive order allowing for local jurisdictions to protect commercial tenants from eviction, Covered Commercial Tenants with 50 or more full time equivalent (“FTE”) employees will be required to immediately pay any unpaid rent owed to their landlords, while smaller Covered Commercial Tenants will be entitled to a forbearance period after September 30, 2021 ranging from 12 to 24 months.

On July 20, the Board of Supervisors took further action that would effectively forgive some past due rent from certain Covered Commercial Tenants, even after their applicable forbearance period expires.
Continue Reading San Francisco Board of Supervisors Adopts Further Commercial Tenant Relief in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Since we last reported on this topic, many of the residential and commercial eviction moratoriums that were enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have been amended, replaced and/or extended. These moratoriums are generally set to expire on June 30, 2021. Depending on how COVID vaccination and the broader economic recovery play out in the coming months, these moratoriums may be further extended.
Continue Reading UPDATE – Status of Eviction Moratoriums Protecting Residential and Commercial Tenants in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

The San Francisco Planning Department is updating the City’s General Plan, and Department staff will be holding a two-week series of online workshops on the proposed General Plan updates beginning Monday, March 15th. All development projects must be consistent, on balance, with the General Plan’s objectives and policies, so these updates are of high interest for San Francisco developers.

Continue Reading San Francisco Kicking Off General Plan Update Process: Virtual Workshops Coming March 15th

The Planning Department has a December 19 deadline to implement the small business streamlining provisions of Proposition H, which was approved by the voters last month. Proposition H expedites the approval process for principally permitted uses in Neighborhood Commercial (NC) and Neighborhood Commercial Transit (NCT) districts and relaxes zoning controls for a variety of businesses in most NC and NCT districts. Mayor Breed placed Proposition H on the ballot in response to the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and, calling out San Francisco’s “broken” permitting system, issued an executive order on November 19 requiring City departments to implement Proposition H within 30 days.

Under Proposition H, the City must complete its review of permit applications for principally permitted uses in NC and NCT districts within 30 days “to the maximum extent feasible,” and the City is currently re-tooling its interdepartmental review process to comply with this newly imposed time limit. As an additional streamlining measure, Proposition H exempts any change in use within these districts to a principally permitted use from the 30-day neighborhood notification requirement that might otherwise apply.
Continue Reading Prop H Brings Swift Approvals & More Flexibility to Many of San Francisco’s Retail Corridors

In late October, we reported on a number of California, San Francisco, and regional propositions, including measures impacting real estate and other taxes, rent control, affordable housing, permits, and governance. At the state level, results were mixed and in some cases still too close to call, with voters clearly rejecting expansion of local residential rent control (Proposition 21), appearing likely to reject proposed changes to commercial property tax assessment (Proposition 15), but appearing likely to approve revisions to residential property tax reassessment. Greater certainty is expected in the coming days and weeks, and no later than December 4th, when county elections officials must report final results to the California Secretary of State. In San Francisco, voters approved all of the measures that we reported on, including major new and increased business taxes.
Continue Reading Election Results: Key San Francisco and California Ballot Measures Impacting Real Estate

San Francisco voters will again confront a formidable ballot on November 3, 2020, with 13 San Francisco propositions to consider in addition to state and federal offices and measures. The local propositions address an array of topics, including governance, affordable housing, taxes, and permits. Some of the key measures impacting San Francisco businesses are summarized below. Except where indicated, the measures require a simple majority vote to pass.
Continue Reading Another Daunting San Francisco Ballot

While the focus in November is on the top of the ticket, Californians also face a long list of ballot measures. Here we focus on three major measures that impact California real estate: Propositions 15, 19 and 21.
Continue Reading California State Ballot Includes Major Property Tax, Rent Control Measures

San Francisco wasted no time implementing AB 1505, which authorizes localities to adopt ordinances requiring developers to provide on-site inclusionary affordable housing units in rental projects, provided that there is an alternative means of compliance such as in-lieu fees or off-site inclusionary rental units.  As explained in our prior post on 2017’s 15-bill housing package, AB 1505 supersedes case law that deemed on-site inclusionary rental unit requirements an impermissible form of rent control under the state Costa-Hawkins Act.

Continue Reading Farewell to Costa-Hawkins Agreements for On-Site Affordable Rental Units in SF

On September 29, 2017, Governor Brown signed into law a 15-bill housing package.  A few of the key components, including approval streamlining, are summarized below.  The housing package did not include AB 915, which would have authorized the City and County of San Francisco to impose local inclusionary requirements on bonus units created under the State Density Bonus Law. San Francisco adopted legislation in August that imposes inclusionary housing requirements on bonus units in the form of a fee, and the Legislature’s failure to pass AB 915 creates uncertainty about its enforceability.

Continue Reading Governor Brown Signs Major Housing Package Into Law

Summary Chart of Competing Inclusionary Housing Proposals

Barring any last-minute surprises, the Board of Supervisors will finally adopt compromise inclusionary housing legislation on July 18th that would, as shown in our summary comparison chart, make many major changes to the City’s existing program.  The key provisions of the legislation affecting large projects with 25 or more residential units can be found in our prior blog post on this topic.

Recent noteworthy changes, including an important change to existing grandfathering protections for certain pipeline projects, are summarized below.


Continue Reading Compromise Inclusionary Legislation Set for Final Approval