Temporary Severance of Specified Housing Services During Mandatory Seismic Retrofit

Effective August 30, 2014, Rent Ordinance Section 37.2(r) was amended to allow a landlord to temporarily sever specified housing services from the tenancy, including parking and storage, without a "just cause" reason in order to perform the mandatory soft-story seismic retrofit work required by Chapter 34B of the Building Code. Tenants will not be entitled to a rent reduction for the temporary loss of the housing service, but will be entitled to either compensation or a substitute housing service as provided in Administrative Code Chapter 65A.

Chapter 65A was added to the Administrative Code effective August 30, 2014 to provide a process by which a specified housing service may be temporarily severed from a rent-controlled tenancy in order to perform the mandatory soft-story seismic retrofit work required by Chapter 34B of the Building Code.

Section 65A.2 requires the landlord to provide the tenants in each affected unit with a 30-day written notice to temporarily sever the specified housing service. The notice must include the length of time the housing service will be temporarily severed. Prior to serving the notice, the landlord must obtain all necessary permits for the mandatory seismic retrofit work.

Section 65A.3 sets forth the calculation and distribution of landlord compensation payments to tenants of affected units. One-half of the compensation payment is due upon service of the notice to temporarily sever the housing service; the remaining one-half is due on the date that the temporary severance actually commences.

Section 65A.4 allows a landlord to choose to provide a comparable housing service that is reasonably near the affected unit ("substitute housing service") as an alternative to paying compensation.

Section 65A.5 permits either a landlord or a tenant to file a petition with the Rent Board to determine the amount of compensation or sufficiency of the substitute housing service under Chapter 65A. The filing of a petition shall not operate to delay the required payment of compensation or provision of a substitute housing service to the tenants of the affected unit.

A copy of Rent Ordinance Section 37.2(r) and Administrative Code Section 65A is provided here for your convenience.