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SF legislation would halt massive rent hikes for formerly rent-controlled tenants

San Francisco Supervisor Dean Preston on Tuesday proposed legislation that outlaw massive rent increases for tenants who were formerly protected through rent control.

Under Preston’s proposed legislation, rent increases would be limited for tenants and remain in line with the city’s rent ordinance, which bars landlords from raising annual rents by no more than seven percent.

The proposed legislation comes after a number of residents of the Frederick Douglas Haynes Garden Apartments – a 104-unit affordable housing complex in the Western Addition – lost their rent control protections after the property’s owners received city funds in 2020 to make repairs.

Although the residents challenged the lost protections, in November 2021 the San Francisco Rent Board sided with the property owners, reasoning that because property owners used city funds to pay for repairs and supported the housing with public funds, the rent control protections no longer applied.

As a result, residents saw astronomical increases in rent, with one family who has lived in the complex since 1997 seeing their rent jump from $1,408 to $1,921 a month. Their rent is set to continue to increase by $513 annually over the next five years, according to Preston’s office.

Supervisor Preston said:

In a city with a $13 billion budget, in the midst of having necessary conversations about reparations to the Black community, it is unconscionable that the city wants to pay the bill for long-overdue repairs in subsidized housing by imposing rent hikes on long-term African-American residents. … We can, and we must, do better.”

Aside from the proposed legislation, Preston is hoping to continue to seek solutions to help the residents, including working with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development.

Preston said:

We remain hopeful that we can work with MOHCD to find an amicable solution, but whether it is legislatively or administratively, we will not stop until we find a solution both for the FD Haynes residents, and for the long-term housing stability of all San Franciscans who should be free from such spikes in their rent.”

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