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March For Rent We Can Afford
September 24, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Join hundreds of tenants on Tues, 9/24.
We’re not prey, and we fight to stay.
WHERE: Rally at ONE BUSH ST. (Market & 1st),
then march to 724 Pine (about 15 mins.)
WHEN: 12-2 PM, Tuesday September 24, 2019
Questions? Please contact Brad Hirn at
email@example.com and 415-226-6677
Join tenants living under SF’s largest landlord, Veritas Investments, as we march to stop excessive rent hikes at 20 buildings across the city.
While this march has a specific demand of a specific landlord, it is also about ALL tenants in SF who are on the verge of being priced out, who are one rent increase away from losing their apartment, and who know they’d be displaced from SF or homeless if that rent increase came tomorrow.
Ultimately, we march for our right to just stay, and we march against the feeling of helplessness that we can’t do anything about losing our community, our neighbors, our families.
BACKGROUND INFO ON DEMAND OF VERITAS
Last year, Veritas tenants, SF tenant groups, and allies successfully passed a law banning increased debt service — a landlord’s mortgage payments — and property tax from being passed on to rent-controlled tenants as part of 7% Operations & Maintenance (O&M) rent increases.
While the ban on debt service and property tax is benefitting thousands of rent-controlled tenants, last year’s law does not cover a number of buildings where landlords filed O&M petitions prior to the change in the law but after the publication date of the SF Chronicle’s first article on the proposed legislation. For these buildings, a landlord must show that they “reasonably relied” on their ability to pass through increased debt service and property tax at the time of buying the building.
Veritas has filed the majority of these O&M petitions, and to our knowledge, there are at least 20 Veritas buildings in this “gray zone.” Most of these 20 buildings have already had Rent Board arbitrations for the O&M rent increases. In every case, the Rent Board judge sided with Veritas. In nearly every case, tenants have appealed the judge’s decision. In every appeal, the Rent Board Commission has voted 2-3 against the tenants.
Having exhausted the Rent Board process for preventing these excessive rent increases, tenants turned to their elected Supervisors for support. Starting about a month ago, tenants began sending group letters to their Supervisors asking them to contact Veritas and urge the landlord to drop the O&M rent increases. In all, seven Supervisors heard from tenants in their districts, and most of the Supervisors contacted Veritas. While the advocacy — and a Channel 5 story — did result in the announcement of a public hearing on passthroughs (date of hearing TBD) and one-time “courtesy” rent credits from Veritas to the tenants, the effort did not stop the rent increases.
Tenants then decided to take the next step of public action, and the march on 9/24 is that step.
Veritas has said on the record in Rent Board hearings that they are doing these rent increases because they can, and that these buildings are investment properties. In an affordability crisis, this business model must stop. We march on 9/24 to make clear this message.