Tenants Oppose Earthquake Safety Rules

Tenants in San Francisco are lobbying against a law that would allow landlords to pass on the costs of earthquake safety updates to tenants.

According to a newpaper report, pending legislation supported by the Mayor and other city officials would require building owners of vulnerable properties — as estimated 44,000 units — to make upgrades to prevent major earthquake damage. The costs of such improvements are expected to be significant. The bill allows landlords to treat these upgrades as capital improvements, passing 100% of the costs to tenants, despite rent controls.

Although tenants will benefit from the added protection in the event of another major earthquake affecting the city, advocates say that many tenants simply can’t afford the price tag, and that it is unfair for them to shoulder the costs of mandated safety improvements. They are asking that the bill be amended so that tenants and landlords share costs 50-50, according to the report.

Debate on the law will continue and amendments are possible; however, the measure currently appears to have enough support to pass.

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