Is the San Francisco Condo Lottery Dead?

Prior to 2013, the City of San Francisco (“City”) implemented an annual condo conversion lottery system for 2-6 unit residential and mixed-use properties. But with the lottery resulting in a backlog of applications extending well over a decade, the Board of Supervisors passed Ordinance No. 117-13, ushering in changes to Article 9 of the City’s […]


San Francisco Eliminates Parking Requirements Citywide

On December 11, 2018, the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance (the “Ordinance”) eliminating required parking minimums citywide for all uses. The vote was 7-4, with Supervisors Cohen, Safai, Stefani, and Yee voting against it. Mayor Breed signed the Ordinance on December 21 and it went into effect on January 21. Those in favor of […]


Streamlining Construction Permits

Meeting the needs of commercial projects after entitlement can be difficult when City agencies are tasked with solving a housing crisis. The Small Business Permit Streamlining Ordinance seeks to update several areas of code that affect various agency processes and may contribute to an elegant solution for commercial property owners exploring options with tenants for […]


Think residential projects in San Francisco could not get more complicated? Think again.

On December 11, 2018, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors introduced legislation that would significantly impact the demolition and modification of residential units (BOS File No. 181216). The Planning Code requires most “demolitions” of residential units to obtain Conditional Use (“CU”) approval after a hearing by the Planning Commission, whether or not the unit is […]


Solving the Housing Crisis?  Housing Legislation and Related Initiatives to Watch in 2019

The year has just started, but there are already several pending pieces of housing legislation and other initiatives to watch in 2019, both locally (San Francisco and Bay Area overall) and statewide.  The 2019-2020 legislative session opened in Sacramento just last month and 26 housing bills have already been introduced.  This article summarizes a few […]


Protecting the Economic Viability of Development Projects in an Age of Construction Material Cost Increases: One Solution

Unpredictable construction and labor costs continue to have a significant impact on project viability.  A September 2018 Meyers Research study, Cost Drivers Impacting Housing, funded by the California Homebuilding Foundation, identifies construction material shortages and costs as a significant factor impacting the supply of housing.  Framing lumber, ready-mix concrete, plywood/engineered wood, and gypsum were cited […]


Lease Consequences Upon Exercising Option to Purchase

What terms must be included in a lease option to purchase to ensure enforceability?  If a tenant exercises an option to purchase, when does the lease and related obligation to pay rent cease?  A recent Court of Appeal case, Petrolink, Inc. v. Lantel Enterprises, decided just these issues. (21 Cal.App.5th 375 (2018)).  In Petrolink, the […]


Land Use Legislative Update

Two legislative measures introduced at the Board of Supervisors last week provided some updates to land use policy in San Francisco. Mayor Breed Gives a Lifeline to Stalled Housing Projects Proposition C, which significantly increased affordable housing requirements on new housing projects, provided some relief with grandfathering provisions for many pipeline projects.  Projects that had […]


San Francisco Proposes New Roof Deck Policy: Drastic New Restrictions or Prudent Planning?

On August 30, 2018, the San Francisco Planning Commission received an informational debriefing from Planning Department Staff on a proposed new policy (Record No. 2018-005411CRV; the “Policy”) on construction of residential roof decks. The purpose of the Policy is to mitigate potential impacts to adjacent residents resulting from the addition of a roof deck, including, […]


Proposition 10 – Taking the Debate over Rent Control Back to the Local Level

This November, California voters will decide whether to repeal statewide limitations on local rent control.  A majority vote for Proposition 10 would repeal the Costa Hawkins Act, a 1995 law that limits the reach of local rent control measures to multi-family housing built before 1995, and forbids cities and counties from setting the initial rent […]