Proposal to extend SF rental laws to families with kids

January 4, 2010 6:37:03 PM PST
In the Bay Area city where renters out number property owners, the battle heats-up again on Tuesday. Two key proposals are up for a vote and one is designed to keep families from leaving San Francisco.

The week before Christmas, Deszon Claiborn and his wife, Karen Coopman, received an eviction notice, telling them to leave the San Francisco apartment where they have lived for 18 years and are raising three children.

"We were married there in the backyard. Our children, that's the only home they've known and then someone served a notice saying you need to leave in 60 days," says Coopman.

The owner bought the property last year and now wants to live there. The family probably will not find another place in the city they can afford. Stories like theirs have tenant advocates supporting legislation that would protect families with children from so-called owner move-in evictions.

Right now, under city law renters who are 60 or older, disabled or are catastrophically ill, cannot be kicked out when an owner wants to move in. Supervisor Eric Mar wants children to have that status.

"This is about compassion for vulnerable families in the city that are being pushed out based on the economic times," says Mar.

Some landlords say it goes too far.

"We'd be willing to see them protected during the school year so they don't have to displace their children, but giving them permanent protection is just over the top," says Janan New, with the San Francisco Apartment Association.

There are compromises in Mar's proposal. For example, it would only affect multi-unit apartment buildings and if an owner has kids, he could evict a renter with kids.

It is just one of two tenant-landlord measures that will be voted at the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

The other proposed ordinance extends eviction controls to virtually all rental units in the city. Right now those built after 1979 are exempt. The mayor has said he will veto that.