San Francisco Expands ADUs and Electronic Permitting

State Law Changes to ADUs Incorporated into Planning Code Early this year, state law changed to allow additional flexibility in adding Accessory Dwelling Units (“ADUs”) to existing and proposed housing. In May, some of those changes were incorporated into Planning Code Section 207. Additional changes to align the Planning Code with state law are expected […]


San Francisco Tax Update

Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax Upheld On June 30, 2020, the First District of the California Court of Appeal upheld the legality of the City and County of San Francisco’s “Homelessness Gross Receipts Tax.” This tax ranges from 0.175% – 0.690% of taxable gross receipts (depending on the industry), and is 1.5% for administrative offices. This […]

Homeowners Association

Recent California Condo/HOA Laws

The Davis-Stirling Common Interest Development Act (“Davis-Stirling Act”) is the primary body of law governing condo projects and homeowners associations (“HOAs”) in California. The state legislature enacted several bills that went into effect in 2020 that affect common interest developments (CIDs) such as condominium projects. The following is a brief summary of some recent changes […]

Small business

Mayor’s Measure Proposes to Cut Red Tape for Small Business

Even before COVID-19’s devastating economic impacts, the process of opening a small business in San Francisco was often difficult, lengthy, and expensive. Between high rents and operating costs and the shift to online shopping and food ordering, many small business have been forced to close. Retail vacancies have risen with many potential new businesses deterred […]

Storefront Tax

Delay to San Francisco’s New Vacant Storefront Tax

We all have experienced this: a favorite store or local restaurant closes down after decades in business, citing the difficult climate to do business in San Francisco.  The rent is too high, costs to operate are too much, people shop and order food online instead of in person.  The numbers of closures have proliferated over […]

San Francisco

Legislation Imposing Moratorium on Commercial Evictions Fails to Pass

Senate Bill 939 (“SB 939”), which was the subject of our June 17th Update, would have imposed significant statewide restrictions on commercial evictions and allowed tenants to renegotiate or terminate their lease. The Legislation failed to advance from the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday, and will not move forward this session. In response, SB 939 sponsors, […]

California Considers Stringent Restrictions on Commercial Evictions

As COVID-19 continues to shape our economic future, elected officials are weighing how to intervene in commercial evictions. Some municipalities have imposed temporary moratoria on evictions. Senate Bill 939 (“SB 939”), introduced on February 6, 2020 by Senators Scott Wiener and Lena Gonzalez, would go much further. The legislation would impose significant Statewide restrictions on […]

San Francisco

City Expands Demolition Controls to High-Value Homes

For years, San Francisco has required a conditional use permit as a prerequisite to demolishing a residential building. In addition, the building could not be demolished until a building permit for the replacement structure was approved. The theory behind the prohibition is that existing housing is the City’s most affordable housing and should be preserved. […]

SB35 Vallco

Court Upholds City of Cupertino’s Approval of SB 35 Vallco Project

Less than two weeks after issuing a decision that required the City of Los Altos to approve a 15-unit SB 35 project, the same Santa Clara County Superior Court judge (“Court”) issued a second favorable decision upholding the City of Cupertino’s (“City”) decision to approve an SB 35 project that would redevelop the former Vallco […]


California Superior Court Reverses Denial of an SB 35 Project

In a groundbreaking ruling, the Santa Clara County Superior Court found that the city of Los Altos acted in bad faith when it denied a 15-unit density bonus project that was proposed under SB 35 and subject to the Housing Accountability Act (HAA). Instead of sending the project back to the City for further consideration, […]