City considers making building owners do seismic upgrades

The Public Press developed this map showing areas in red where buildings are highly susceptible to earthquake damage.

City Hall sources have confirmed the basic details of a San Francisco Public Press report from Friday afternoon that the Board of Supervisors will consider requiring the owners of soft-story buildings of three stories or more to seismically retrofit them by 2020 – at the expense of building owners, something sure to rouse controversy.

The legislation was developed and introduced by the Mayor's Office and it's being sponsored by the board's two most prolific and effective supervisors, Board President David Chiu and Sup. Scott Wiener, which is probably a signal that city officials know this one is going to be “challenging,” as one source told us.

Details are still being hammered out before the measure is introduced at tomorrow's board meeting, including some of the financing options that would be open to property owners. But after voters in 2010 narrowly rejected Measure A, a bond that would have provided low-cost loans for the seismic retrofits, property owners could be forced to dig deep to ensure their buildings don't collapse in an earthquake.

Wiener confirmed that the legislation would be mandate on building owners without public money attached: "It would be a mandate that they within a certain time frame do an earthquake retrofit," Wiener told the Guardian.

As the Public Press reported, the legislation would apply to all wood-framed buildings of three stories or more built before 1978, with smaller buildings and single-family homes exempted. In the most recent print edition of the Public Press, extensive coverage of the city's earthquake vulnerabilities estimated that about 58,000 San Franciscans live in the nearly 3,000 soft-story buildings deemed dangerous places to be when the next big earthquake hits.

Wiener said city officials have been deeply involved with negotiations with various effected groups, including building owners and their tenants, who could face displacement as the work is done or higher rents if landlords pass through those costs. Wiener said the legislation is bound to evolve as talks and hearings continue: "There are a lot of variables and the introduction is really just a preliminary step."


Nope, there needs to be a moral hazard applied to such poor economic decision making instead of coddling the errant TIC commune/collective members so that it does not happen again.

Everyone loses if TIC's win.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 9:28 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 9:46 am

Existing TIC communes can simply dissolve, put the building on the market as rent controlled rentals with the price of the building reflecting current market rate rents--a windfall for the TIC communards--who can then put a hefty down payment on a proper condo--everyone wins except for the tenants displaced in the first instance.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 9:58 am

Dual-income professionals can easily afford TIC's, and are lapping them up. TIC financing is also becoming more available and affordable.

SF RE is booming again. I know how much you hate success and prosperity.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 7:06 am

The Wall Street Journal reported a $10 Million sale in Mission/Dolores.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 9:49 am

to the south and west of Dolores Park, especially tucked away on the heights of Sanchez Street around there.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 10:25 am

I wonder of Randy Shaw and his rich wife traded up to that given his windfall of public poverty dollars?

Posted by marcos on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 11:18 am

He works his fingers to the bone every day for the poor and downtrodden of the Tenderloin - don't you get that?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 11:29 am

Oakland or Berkeley, and it was only worth a couple of million. I doubt he is in the eight-figure club, but definitely in the two comma club.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 11:48 am

eviction is for a "temporary" rehabilitation. Basically, a LL gives notice that significant works require all tenants to move out temporarily. $4,500 gets paid to compensate and, in theory, the tenant gets to move back in after 3 months.

But in practice, these renovations have a nasty habit of taking longer than planned, which means extensions to the "temporary" evictions. And of course the longer the works go on, the more likely it is that the tenants will give up and find another place.

It's one of the loopholes in the rent ordinance that, in a sane market, an owner would never use. But there is nothing sane about tent control and, given th;at incimbency and occupation is a tenant's biggest weapon, it makes a lot of sense to take that away and only then negotiate a payout or buyoff to make that permanent.

Law of unintended consequcnes, yet again.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

"I'm concerned about property owners Not their tenants - who honestly I could give two shits about. "

This is, of course, the same person who said African Americans "should be grateful to Europeans for their enslavement."

Posted by Greg on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

Don't offer substantive rebuttals - just repeat the same tired old attack lines again and again, night after night. Like the progressive movement you're just gonna keep on losing. Because I always win. What Lucretia wants - Lucretia gets.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 10:34 pm

I'm going to keep digging up and repeating that quote of yours from time to time, because it provides context to your other posts by giving valuable insight into your character.

It's like when Romney says that he's "not concerned about the poor"... say something like that once, and people can chalk it up to bad phrasing. But find a whole pattern of such quotes ("I like to fire people", the 47% remarks, etc.), and you can see that the person really is a heartless bastard.

Likewise, when you say "I could give two shits about tenants," it's important to know that it's not an isolated incident, but fits very well with your history of hate-filled and callous remarks toward other people.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 8:31 am

of handout from the government UNLESS that statement is factually false.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 8:50 am

47% of Americans give up most of their lives working at subsistence levels in order to subsidize the standards of living of those a few rungs up the economic ladder.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 9:19 am

and some people net receive benefits funded by taxes.

It's 53%/47%, apparently.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 9:33 am

And others are forced to subsidize those who take tax off the top via underpaid labor.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:02 am

cataloging her quotes. You are like the unofficial biographer of Lucretia - no? Clearly you are obsessed with Lucretia and as Lucretia has said before - this happens often. What Lucretia wants - Lucretia gets.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 5:04 pm

nobosy will want to buy it unless they change it's use. So if these costs are stick to a residential owner, and they make the enterprise unviable, then the occupants end up losing their home, one way or another.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

My building is on the list of buildings identified in the Public Press article, but it's already been seismically retrofitted. Makes me question the accuracy of the data.

Posted by The Commish on Feb. 04, 2013 @ 4:52 pm

gets permits for such work, due to the cost and unreasonableness of the building codes.

A simple solution would be what already happens for unreinforced masonary buildings - put a clear sign by the main entrance telling people the building is potentially vulnerable in an earthquake.

If tenants then decide to take the risk and live there anyway, it is on their heads.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

"Earthquake consultants who convened at a city-sponsored workshop Wednesday said the wood-frame buildings could be made much safer with retrofits that would cost between $71,000 and $132,000, depending on the materials used and the amount of work."

Only $132K for a large building, with many able to get away with 3/4" ply screwed into the studs, I mean WTF?

Note to self: buy 3/4" ply and screw it into our soft story studs even though we're not on the list.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 04, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

SF building owners spend 100K each on earthquake remediation.

What else would anyone expect them to say?

Self-serving dishonest nonsense. If you don't like living with the risk of earthquakes, then don't live in SF, or don't live in a building that isn't refitted. It's not rocket science.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2013 @ 6:37 pm

$137K on a large building is rounding error.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 04, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

It's all passed thru to tenants. You knew that right?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

Pass through depends on how the legislation is written, chalk retrofit up to the cost of doing business.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 04, 2013 @ 8:25 pm

The reason the passthru rules are in there is so that rent control can pass constitutional muster. RC would be a "taking" if LL's were denied the ability to make a "reasonable return" and that would be impossible but for the abiloity to pass on new or increased costs.

Go to any rent board meeting and you will see and hear lots of passthru's being approved.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 7:04 am

But they have to be approved. Forcing people to invest in their properties to bring them up to code is different than passing through the cost of a bond measure or tax increase.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 6:01 pm

Tenants rarely hire lawyers to fight them and so the LL almost always prevails.

Posted by anonymous on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

Am I the only one wondering why the city continues to pass laws benefiting construction companies?
First, all street corners were rebuilt to be handicap-safe.
Next, a huge amount of streets were repaved.
Next, the city forced all property owners to have their sidewalks repaired where trees (planted by the city) were pushing some blocks up.
Now earthquake proofing buildings.
It took me years of saving and sacrifice to become a property owner in SF. Now I feel like I am getting squeezed at every corner. I understand large buildings should be earthquake proof but this is getting out of control for small property owners.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

Welcome to the wonderful world of real capital accounting where you pay for it at three times, principal, interest and depreciation and may have to take additional steps to keep the structure up to code as it evolves based on scientific evidence. You could always rent?

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:58 pm

rather than expecting someone else to pay for it.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

Conservatives love to wax poetic about personal responsibility, but what they really mean is personal responsibility for *others*. They want to grab all the profits of their business, and socialize the losses.

Uh-uh. These buildings are businesses, and with business ownership come certain responsibilities. Keeping it safe for human habitation is pretty basic -that's the number one responsibility of the landlord -whether he "wants" it or not. Many landlords take the attitude exemplified by one of the first commentators on this thread -"that's what insurance is for." As long as the landlord gets compensated for their loss, they could care less about the humans who die as a result of their neglect. Well to paraphrase a certain troll, "I could give two shits" about what the landlord "wants." Tenants want to survive an earthquake. If you're a landlord, you WILL make sure that your building is safe, and you WILL pay. Don't like it? Fuck you. Then get the fuck out of the landlord business.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

owners will end up selling their units at a discount to developers/investors who will rent them out at market rate adding to the already 60% of renters who keep the worst of nanny state 'progressive' politicians in office? Anti home ownership, that's the policy of the progressives.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 5:56 pm