December 17, 1996
MINUTES OF THE REGULAR MEETING OF
THE SAN FRANCISCO RESIDENTIAL RENT
STABILIZATION & ARBITRATION BOARD,
Tuesday, December 17, 1996 at 6:00 p.m. at
25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 70, Lower Level
- Call to Order
President Becker called the meeting to order at 6:05 p.m.
- Roll Call
Commissioners Present: Becker; Bierly; Lightner; Marshall; Palma;
Commissioners not Present: Moore; Mosser; Murphy.
Staff Present: Grubb; Wolf.
Commissioner Gruber appeared on the record at 6:10 p.m.
- Approval of the Minutes
MSC: To approve the Minutes of December 3, 1996.
- Remarks from the Public
Robert Pender announced that the Tenants’ Network will be having
a fourth birthday party on Friday, January 24, 1997 at 6:00 p.m.
at the Unitarian Church at Franklin and Geary.
- Consideration of Appeals
- 3130 Taraval St. #4 R001-26A
The landlord’s petition for a rent increase based on increased
operating expenses was granted. However, the hearing officer
found that the increase was not effective on the date specified
in the notice, because the tenant credibly testified that he had
not received the notice and the landlord failed to comply with
Code of Civil Procedure Section 1162 in service of the notice.
An annual increase that was paid by the tenant because it was
his "anniversary date" was allowed as of the date the
tenant commenced payment. On appeal, the landlord maintains that
the posting requirement of CCP Section 1161 is only applicable
to judicial proceedings; that service by regular and certified
mail should have been sufficient and the fact that the tenant
failed to claim the certified letter is outside of the landlord’s
control; and the fact that the tenant paid the operating expense
portion of the increase is evidence that the notice was received.
MSC: To accept the appeal and remand the case on the record
on the issues of whether there was actual notice and, if so, the
legal effect thereof; and to determine whether the tenant commenced
paying the increase in March or April. (Becker/Lightner: 5-0)
- 730 Stockton St. #6 & #34 R001-27A
The tenants’ petitions alleging overpayments in rent due to capital
improvement passthroughs having been improperly included in base
rent and not having been discontinued upon amortization were granted
and the landlord was found liable to the tenants in the amounts
of $1,120.43 and $703.96. On appeal, the landlord asserts that
the tenants’ petitions should be denied due to laches, as the
tenants waited an unreasonable period of time before filing; not
all banked increases that the landlord was entitled to were identified
or calculated correctly; the systematic pattern of rounding increases
up and down should serve to explain and excuse the excessive rent
increases; the tenants’ conduct made it impossible for the landlord
to correctly calculate the appropriate amount of rent increases;
and the hearing officer was biased against the landlord.
MSC: To deny the appeal, except for the Technical Correction
that will be issued by the Hearing Officer. (Marshall/Becker:
- 170 Highland Ave. R001-28A
The tenants’ petition alleging substantial decreases in housing
services was granted and the landlord was found liable to the
tenants in the amount of $4,080.00 due to many serious habitability
defects on the premises. The landlord failed to appear at the
properly noticed hearing and alleges on appeal, under penalty
of perjury, that he failed to receive notice of the hearing.
The landlord also claims on appeal that he has substantially complied
and rectified many of the conditions about which the tenants complained.
MSC: To accept the appeal and remand the case to the same hearing
officer for a new hearing. (Lightner/Gruber: 5-0)
- 1393 Goettingen St. R001-60R
The landlord’s petition for certification of costs incurred in
painting this single family dwelling was granted, resulting in
a monthly passthrough in the amount of $20.00. The tenants appeal
the decision on the grounds of financial hardship. Since the
tenant’s wife failed to fill out a separate "Hardship Application",
it was the consensus of the Board to continue this case to the
next meeting in order for staff to contact the tenants.
- 705 Shotwell St. #A R001-29A
The tenant’s petition alleging substantial decreases in housing
services was granted, in part, and the landlord was found liable
to the tenant in the amount of $482.50 due to substandard conditions
on the premises. The landlord failed to appear at the properly
noticed hearing and alleges on appeal that he failed to receive
notice of the hearing. The landlord also maintains that certain
of the problems are the fault of the tenant; that he has received
no other complaints from occupants of the building; and that many
of the conditions have been remedied.
MSC: To accept the appeal and remand the case to the same hearing
officer for a new hearing. (Lightner/Becker: 5-0)
In addition to correspondence concerning cases on the calendar,
the Commissioners received the following communications:
- A letter from the State Bar regarding their referral of
Attorney David Dawson for questionable business practices, stating
that their investigation is in abeyance pending the resolution
of litigation regarding a claim of wrongful eviction. President
Becker will follow up with a phone call.
- Notice that the allowable annual rent increase as of March
1, 1997 through February 28, 1998 will be 1.8%.
- A Memorandum from Senior Hearing Officer Sandy Gartzman
regarding the office’s mediation statistics for the months of
October and November, 1996. Of the mediations actually conducted
in November, 88% resulted in settlement.
- Director’s Report
In the absence of Executive Director Grubb, Deputy Director Wolf
informed the Board that the last 5:30 Board meeting will be on
January 7, 1997. After that date, commencing with the meeting
on January 21, 1997, all meetings will begin at 6:00 p.m. Additionally,
a Supplemental Budget Request for database development and temporary
salaries passed its first reading before the full Board of Supervisors
on Monday, December 16th.
- Old Business
- Assembly Bill 3244 (Hawkins)
Commissioner Wasserman reported back to the Board regarding her
examination of issues raised by the passage of Assembly Bill 3244
(Hawkins) and stated that, in her, the Deputy Director and lobbyist
Christine Minnehan’s opnions, Rules and Regulations Section 6.14
did not require any further amendment(s) at this time. The other
- Codification of Artist Live/Work Policy
The Board briefly discussed a Memorandum prepared by the Deputy
Director at the request of Commissioner Becker regarding possible
codification of the Board’s Artist Live/Work Policy, adopted on
January 24, 1982. The Commissioners discussed several ancillarly
issues, including: the policy reason(s) behind the probhibition
of buildings that qualify under the substantial rehabilitation
provisions of the Ordinance qualifying for exemption under the
Live/Work criteria; whether individual units can be exempted from
the provisions of the Ordinance, or if exemption of the whole
building is necessary; examination of "prior residential
use" in this and the new construction exemption contexts;
and concerns over sanctioning substandard housing raised in a
Memo from Commissioner Murphy. Discussion of this issue will
be continued at the January 7, 1997 meeting.
- Remarks from the Public (cont.)
Bill Quan, the landlord involved in the case at 730 Stockton
Street #6 (R001-27A), addressed the Board regarding his disappointment
at the denial of his appeal. He also expressed his opinion that
the Costa-Hawkins legislation is quite clear (Assembly Bill 1164),
and that there is no need for the Board to re-write Rules and
Regulations Section 6.14.
- Calendar Items
December 24 & 31, 1996 - NO MEETINGS (Happy Holidays!)
January 7, 1997 - 5:30 p.m.
8 appeal considerations (1 cont. from 12/17/96)
Old Business: Codification of Artist Live/Work Policy
President Becker adjourned the meeting at 7:40 p.m.