January 02, 1996
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF
THE SAN FRANCISCO RESIDENTIAL RENT
STABILIZATION & ARBITRATION BOARD,
Tuesday, January 2, 1996 at 6:00 p.m. at
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70, Lower Level
I. Call to Order
President L. Becker called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m.
II. Roll Call
Commissioners Present: L. Becker; Gruber; Hayden; How; Lightner; Marshall; Nash; Wasserman.
Commissioners not Present: B. Becker.
Staff Present: Grubb; Wolf.
III. Approval of the Minutes
MSC: To approve the Minutes of November 28 and December 5, 1995.
IV. Consideration of Appeals
A. 845 Sutter St. #509, 205 & 411 Q001-22R, -26R & -27R
Consideration of these appeals was postponed to the January 16, 1996 meeting.
B. 686 Valencia St. #3 Q001-28R
The tenant’s petition alleging decreases in housing services and unlawful increases in rent was granted, in part. The landlords were found liable to the tenant in the amount of $495.00 due to substandard conditions in the unit and a rent increase based on the presence of an additional occupant in the unit effective November 1994 was found to be null and void. No determination was made as to the propriety of the tenant’s rent history prior to that time because of a lack of supporting documentation or evidence. On appeal, the tenant alleges that he has rent receipts for all of the years he has resided in the unit, which the hearing officer failed to ask that he furnish.
MSC: To accept the appeal and remand the case for a hearing on the issue of the tenant’s rent history.
C. 3459 Divisadero St. #106 & 101 Q001-23R & -24R
The landlord’s petition for certification of capital improvement costs and rent increases based on increased operating expenses for ten units was granted, in part, by the hearing officer. The tenant in unit #101 appeals the decision on the basis of financial hardship. The tenant in unit #106 also filed a petition alleging decreased housing services. This petition was denied because the hearing officer found that the restriction on the tenant’s use of the garage roof was de minimus; that the use of a washer and dryer in the unit was not a housing service offered by the landlord; and that the landlord had not been put on notice of the problem with ants in the unit prior to the hearing. The tenant appeals, asserting that: the "anti-speculation clause" [Rules and Regulations Section 6.10(f)] should preclude any increase due to the transfer of ownership of the property; many of the listed expenses constituted a transfer of partnership funds, rather than "actual costs incurred by the landlord"; and the frequency of his use of the garage roof/patio area should not be determinative of whether its loss constituted a substantial decrease in services.
MSC: To accept the appeal of the tenant in unit #101 and remand the case for a hearing on the tenant’s claim of financial hardship. (Lightner/Marshall: 5-0)
MSC: To deny the appeal of the tenant in unit #106. (Hayden/Gruber: 5-0)
D. 4093 - 17th St. Q001-21R
The tenant’s petition alleging substantial decreases in housing services was denied because the hearing officer found that: the tenant had failed to prove his actual share of the rent payments furnished to the landlord; the tenant had failed to provide access in order for repairs to be effectuated; and several of the conditions failed to rise to a level of substantiality such as to warrant a reduction in rent.
MSC: To deny the appeal. (Lightner/Gruber: 5-0)
D. 1024 Cole St. Q001-27A
The landlord’s petition for certification of capital improvement costs and for rent increases based on comparable rents was granted, in part. The hearing officer denied certification of the costs of a newly constructed rear deck because she found that it did not benefit the tenants in the subject unit, who preferred the use of the back yard for gardening purposes. An increase in rent from $720.84 to $827.48 was granted because the hearing officer found that the rent was low at the time the unit came under the jurisdiction of the Ordinance. The apartment was originally rented to a single parent with two small children. The children are now adults who continue to reside in the unit, and it was established that the rent was less than it would have been had the landlord availed herself of all allowable increases under the Ordinance. On appeal, the landlord asserts that the tenants’ purported interest in gardening is not true; that there are several factual errors in the decision; and that the rent for the unit is still significantly below "market."
MSC: To deny the appeal. (Marshall/Hayden: 4-1;
E. 330 Alemany Blvd. #5 Q001-28A
The tenant’s petition alleging several substantial decreases in housing services was granted only as to a mildew problem in the unit, for which the landlord was found liable to the tenant in the amount of $35.00 per month ($350.00). On appeal, the landlord asserts that the mildew problem was abated in May of 1995 and that he has no control over the tenant’s ventilation of her apartment.
MSC: To deny the appeal except for a Technical Correction to the Decision of Hearing Officer on page 7, line 20, to reflect the fact that the duration of the rent reduction is 10, rather than 8, months. (Marshall/Hayden: 4-1; Gruber dissenting)
F. 59 Sycamore St. Q001-25R
The tenant’s petition alleging substantial decreases in housing services was granted, in part, and the landlords were found liable to the tenant in the amount of $1,886.25 due to serious habitability defects on the premises. The tenant appeals the portion of the decision granting rent reductions in the amount of $50.00 per month since the inception of the tenancy due to the lack of a working heat source in the unit, alleging that this amount is wholly inadequate to compensate for the discomfort and inconvenience that this condition has caused.
MSC: To deny the appeal. (Lightner/Gruber: 3-2; L. Becker, Marshall dissenting)
G. 32 Lundy Lane #1 Q001-29A
The tenant’s petition alleging decreased housing services was granted, in part, by the hearing officer and the landlord was found liable to the tenant in the amount of $232.06 due to habitability defects on the premises. The landlord failed to appear at the hearing, but on appeal alleges that the tenant’s complaints were moot because she vacated the apartment for consideration and that the tenant knew the condition of the unit at the inception of the tenancy.
MSC: To deny the appeal. (Marshall/Hayden: 5-0)
The Commissioners received a copy of the Board Decision on Third Appeal in the case at 2350-52 Polk Street (P001-63A), which was approved and signed by President Becker.
VII. Director’s Report
Executive Director Joe Grubb reported as follows:
A. The Rent Board is now on the Internet and can be accessed on the City’s
Home Page or at http://sfgov.org/rentboard
B. The allowable annual increase for the period March 1, 1996 through February 28, 1997 is 1%.
C. Mr. Grubb requested the Board’s authorization to go before the Board of Supervisors with a Supplemental Budget Request in the amount of $66,000 to pay for the cost of translation and recording of the full text of the automated information system in Spanish and Chinese, completion of development of the new database and retention of an additional temporary hearing officer position for a three-month period to help reduce the current backlog of cases. It was the consensus of the Commissioners present to approve the request, except that the Board recommended that the hearing officer position be for six months rather than three.
VIII. Old Business
A. Hudson and Boesch v. S.F. Rent Board (Superior Court Case Nos. 965026 and 965461 - 99 Jersey St.): This matter was continued to the meeting on January 16, 1996.
B. Costa Bill (AB 1164): The Board discussed issues related to the implementation of this legislation, particularly regarding the necessity of conforming certain provisions of Rules and Regulations Section 6.14. This issue was continued to the meeting on January 30th, which will be devoted exclusively to discussion of the Costa Bill. Commissioner Lightner will work on a draft revision to Rules Section 6.14.
IX. Calendar Items
January 9, 1996 - NO MEETING
January 16, 1996
8 appeal considerations
Executive Session: Litigation
Old Business: Costa-Hawkins Bill (AB 1164)
President L. Becker adjourned the meeting at 8:45 p.m.