New Legislation Re Midtown Park Apartments

Ordinance No. 213-20, which was recently passed by the Board of Supervisors and signed by the mayor, became effective on November 30, 2020. The Ordinance amends the Administrative Code to adopt rent increase limitations for dwelling units at Midtown Park Apartments, a residential development owned by the City and County of San Francisco, and expands the Rent Board fee to cover those dwelling units. Specifically, the Ordinance amends Sections 37.2 and 37.6 of the Rent Ordinance, Chapter 37A of the San Francisco Administrative Code, and adds Chapter 37B to the San Francisco Administrative Code. 

Midtown Park Apartments is a residential building located at 1415 Scott Street that is owned by the City and is exempt from the City’s Rent Ordinance. Instead, rents for tenants at Midtown are set by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (“MOHCD”), based on a percentage of each tenant’s household income and other factors. Pursuant to this ordinance, MOHCD retains the ability to set rents at Midtown, but only if no “Legacy Tenant” resides in the unit. A Legacy Tenant is a tenant who has resided in the unit since January 1, 2014. Legacy Tenants instead have their rents regulated as though the rent increase limitations of the Rent Ordinance applies. Each Legacy Tenant also has a one-time option to switch over to having their rent set under whatever MOHCD rent program may exist at that time. However, once a Legacy Tenant switches over to the MOHCD rent program, that would apply going forward, and the Legacy Tenant cannot later revert to the Rent Ordinance.

The ordinance allows rent disputes for Midtown units (regardless of whether occupied by a Legacy Tenant) to be appealed to the Rent Board by filing a petition for arbitration, and expands payment of the Rent Board fee to Midtown units in order for the City to recoup the associated costs.

The ordinance also directs MOHCD to determine the base rents and applicable rent increases for the existing tenants at Midtown (Legacy and non-Legacy Tenants), and to credit any excess amounts that any tenant may have paid between May 1, 2014 and the date the ordinance takes effect, by no later than February 1, 2021.