Renters of San Francisco, a hardy, persevering group, by far the most populace in the city with attendant power to match. But how much do we know about our power? Check out these strange, only-in-SF rent laws that may surprise even the most well educated tenant advocate. According to tenant’s rights attorney Joseph Tobener of the Tobener Law Center, 1. If your unit is illegal, meaning your… read more…
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The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a coalition of housing industry groups recently announced plans to file a lawsuit against the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for removing the “opt-out” provision from its Lead: Renovation, Repair and Painting rule (LRRP). The rule applies to homes constructed before 1978 when lead paint was banned. Its opt-out provision, which expired July 6, let consumers allow contractors to bypass extra preparation, clean-up, and recordkeeping requirements in homes where there were no children under age 6 or pregnant women, thus avoiding additional costs.
The group will challenge EPA’s action on the grounds that the agency substantially amended its LRRP regulation without any new scientific data and before the regulation was put into place April 22, 2010.
(Editor’s Note: To answer some of the questions REALTOR® members have posed concerning the implementation of amendments to the Water Conservation Ordinance, Alex Weyand, the Association’s outside general counsel has prepared a short Q&A memorandum. The memorandum appears below. )
Q1: Are the new water and energy conservation amendments currently in effect?
Q2: What was the effective date?
A2: July 1, 2009.
Q3: What about SFAR’s lawsuit, didn’t it change the effective date?
A3: No. It is merely a lawsuit. It seeks—a lawyer word for “attempts to get”—a Court ruling suspending the law. But there are no guarantees or assurances a Court will agree with the Association’s position. So, members and their buyer/seller clients should comply with the new law until otherwise advised and not bet the lawsuit will win. It may not.
Q4: What about the DBI’s statement that it will not enforce the new law for the period July 1 to August 15, 2009?
A4: That regards enforcement by the city only. Buyers have a private, independent right to enforce the law too. That right was effective July 1, 2009.
Q5: Does the city have the necessary inspection forms yet?
A5: Yes. It appears the city issued them on August 14, 2009.
Q6: Has the city issued the “Informational Brochure” that can be used instead of the SFAR disclosure form?
Q7: When should the new “Informational Brochure” be provided to the buyer?
A7: The law does not clearly state that when this disclosure must be provided to the buyer. The Association strongly recommends it be provided to the buyer with the TDS and other disclosures, and otherwise as soon as reasonably practicable.
Q8: Should REALTORS® get the buyer to sign an acknowledgement of receipt for the “Informational Brochure”?
A8: Yes. It is strongly recommended.
Q9: Does this law apply to new construction, including without limitation, condos?
A9: Yes for the water conservation law, every time the property (e.g., condo unit) is sold. No for the energy conservation law, so long as there is a recorded Energy Compliance Certificate or the property is otherwise exempt.
Q10: Is there an exemption for “fixer uppers” where, for example, the buyer is going to re-do the bathrooms after close of escrow?
A10: No. But the compliance requirements can be postponed for a year if there is a demolition permit on file before close of escrow.
- San Francisco Association of Realtors
Almost a month ago, the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® commenced a legal action against the City and County of San Francisco in Superior Court seeking a stay in the enforcement of the recently enacted amendments to the Water Conservation Ordinance because the city has not produced the documents sellers need to be able to comply with the amendments.
The unavailability of the documents sellers need to comply with the amendments is causing widespread confusion among REALTORS® concerning how they should advise sellers concerning their obligations under the amendments. If the court grants the requested stay, the effective date of the amendments will be 10 days after the documents sellers need to be able to comply with the amendments are produced by the city to allow the Association to notify members of the new effective date.
The Association’s outside general counsel, Alex Weyand, is currently discussing settlement of the lawsuit on mutually agreeable terms with San Francisco’s city attorney.
As reported earlier in REALTOR® Advantage Online, the City and County of San Francisco has amended Chapters 12 and 12A of its Housing Code earlier to expand the requirements of the city’s Water Conservation Ordinance.
The amendments require the city to provide the public with an inspection form and a disclosure brochure. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection appear to have been charged with the duty to provide these implementing documents. But as of the effective date of the amendments (July 1, 2009), the city, the SFPUC and the SF Department of Building Inspection Department had failed to do so.
On July 30, 2009, the city promised to provide the documents by August 15, 2009 and agreed not to enforce the amendments until then. But the city did not meet its self-imposed August 15, 2009 deadline, either. And, a review of the DBI web site today indicates that the city continues to fail to perform its obligations under the law.
San Francisco Association of Realtors