Buyouts of Tenants Are Regulated

Most tenants don’t understand their rights to stay and when the buyout is coupled with threats to evict, tenants are often intimidated into taking the buyout. To decrease the destructive effect of buyouts, the San Francisco Tenants Union advocated for legislation restricting buyouts. The San Francisco Supervisors (Breed, Farrell, Tang, Wiener opposing) approved legislation from Supervisor David Campos which will stop the speculators from using buyouts to get around prohibitions on condo conversions and other tenant protections. Mayor Lee declined to either approve or veto the legislation which:

  • Requires buyouts to be filed and registered with the San Francisco Rent Board.
  • For tenants who vacated under a buyout agreement (as defined in the legislation) after October 31, 2014, there are prohibitions on conversions to condos. There are no conversions to condos allowed if the buyout was within 10 years prior to the condo conversion application and two or more tenants vacated or a senior or disabled tenant vacated. A senior is a tenant who was 60 years or older with 10 years or more tenancy at the time of the buyout agreement. A tenant is disabled if the disability substantially limits a major life activity, before mitigating measures with the exception of ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses (42 USC ยง 12102) and has 10 years or more tenancy at the time of the buyout agreement, except the tenancy only needs to be 5 years for catastrophically ill tenants.
  • Requires landlords to notify tenants of their rights (in a form developed by the Rent Board) prior to negotiating a buyout.
  • Gives tenants the right to rescind a buyout for 45 days after signing the agreement.

Beware of any buyout service that claims to be able to calculate your buyout by their formula. No two tenant scenarios are the same.

Buyouts are antithetical to the mission of the San Francisco Tenants Union because buyouts decrease the supply of affordable housing, increase the wealth of already wealthy landlords and destroy the diversity of our community.


Updated 3/17.

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