SB 35 was one of the most prominent bills to come out of a package of housing-related laws enacted by the California legislature in 2017. It promised to allow swift approval of developments that were consistent with local zoning and design standards. As long as a project met those standards, a city would have no choice but to approve the development. SB 35 was designed to ensure a project could be approved, even without support from elected officials or local neighbors. But a lingering question remained: once a project was approved, could local opposition groups use SB 35 to delay a development or overturn the approval in court?
Continue Reading Trial Court Decisions Illustrate SB 35’s Power

As previously reported on the Unfamiliar Terrain blog, San Francisco Mayor London Breed declared a moratorium on evictions of small and medium-sized businesses (those having worldwide receipts of $25 million or less) impacted by COVID-19 for non-payment of rent. By supplemental declaration on April 1, Mayor Breed ordered that the moratorium also applies to non-replenishment of security deposits. The April 1 supplemental declaration is the eighth of ten supplemental declarations (as of April 21, 2020) to the Mayor’s Proclamation of Local Emergency.
Continue Reading San Francisco Commercial Eviction Moratorium Applies to Security Deposits

We last reported on the Unfamiliar Terrain blog that California Governor Gavin Newsom banned the enforcement of residential evictions against qualified California tenants who fail to pay rent. Less than two weeks later, on April 6, the California Judicial Council substantially expanded statewide tenant protections and eliminated the qualifications for protection. With the Council’s action, residential and commercial tenant eviction lawsuits cannot be initiated during the state of emergency and for 90 days after, regardless of the cause and regardless of the financial condition of the tenant. Eviction actions already in process will be postponed by at least 60 days. The only exceptions are evictions that are necessary for the public health or safety.
Continue Reading California Judicial Council Postpones Residential and Commercial Evictions

UPDATED ON APRIL 22, 2020

On March 19, 2020, Governor Newsom issued a “Safer at Home” Order, which generally permits construction, including housing, to continue statewide. On March 31, 2020, six Bay Area counties – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara – as well as the City of Berkeley, coordinated on and each issued updated local shelter-in-place orders extending and further restricting non-essential activities through May 3, 2020. Among other things, the local orders notably limit the types of construction permitted beyond the State’s Order and require those permissible construction activities to create and implement a “Social Distancing Protocol.”
Continue Reading Bay Area Further Restricts Construction in Response to COVID-19

As we previously reported, in the past two weeks, the federal government, the state of California, and many local governments have taken action to provide tenant and homeowner protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Continue Reading UPDATE – Emergency Protections in Place for Tenants and Homeowners in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

SB 50, Senator Scott Wiener’s bill to boost housing production near transit and job centers, has been defeated. The bill fell three votes short on Wednesday, and Wiener was unsuccessful in his reconsideration request today.

The bill was stalled in the Senate last May when the Chair of the Appropriations Committee deferred action on

On March 3, San Francisco voters will consider Proposition E (“San Francisco Balanced Development Act”)[1], which links the City’s “Proposition M” office allocation scheme, originally approved by voters in 1986, to affordable housing production. Proposition M currently limits the amount of office space that the City may approve annually, with 875,000 square feet added to the allocation for large office projects (50,000 square feet or more) each year in October.
Continue Reading SF’s Proposition E Links Office Allocation to Housing Production

The Housing Crisis Act of 2019 (Senate Bill No. 330; Senator Skinner) goes into effect on January 1, 2020 and expires on January 1, 2025. It aims to address the statewide housing crisis by limiting the number of public hearings for new housing developments and reducing the timeline for permit review, placing limits on permit processing, limiting fees and exactions, and making it more difficult for local jurisdictions to deny or modify housing projects.
Continue Reading SB 330 Seeks to Speed Up Housing Production

Costs for many office and laboratory projects in San Francisco are poised to increase. On November 5, 2019, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a proposed ordinance that would more than double the Citywide Jobs Housing Linkage Fee (JHLF) rate for such projects. The ordinance now moves to the Mayor for consideration.
Continue Reading SF Board of Supervisors Approves Major Increase to Jobs Housing Linkage Fee

In September, the California Legislature approved AB 1482, the Tenant Protection Act of 2019. Governor Newsom signed the bill on October 8, making California the third state this year to impose statewide residential rent control, behind Oregon and New York. The legislation also includes “just cause” eviction provisions.
Continue Reading California Passes Rent Cap and Eviction Protections with AB 1482