San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman proposed an ordinance Tuesday that would prohibit landlords from violating rental agreements by taking away amenities like storage, parking, bike rooms or laundry from renters.
The proposed ordinance would require landlords to provide a just cause for removing existing amenities, Mandelman said, effectively extending the same legal remedies that apply in cases of wrongful evictions to cases of an illegal removal of housing services.
Mandelman said landlords have removed such services when they convert garages and common areas into new rental units, known as accessory dwelling units or ADUs. He said he drafted the ordinance after hearing an increase of such cases reported to his office by District 8 tenants in recent months.
"Adding a new unit or two or more to existing buildings can be a great way to increase the amount of housing in our neighborhoods, but adding new housing should not come at the expense of current tenants," he said. "It's not OK to take away storage, parking, bike rooms or laundry that people have relied on for years and have the right to continue enjoying as part of their home."
Mandelman said his office reached out to the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco -- a tenants' rights organization -- which was aware of similar cases in at least 10 other apartment buildings around San Francisco.
"Landlords should build ADUs to create new rent-controlled housing, not to remove existing tenants' contracted housing services," said Brad Hirn, a lead organizer with the group. "The problem becomes even more troubling when we see some of SF's largest real estate investment firms using ADUs to sever services and exacerbate the displacement of long-term tenants."