Topics that matter. Insights with impact.

While our mission is to keep you up to date, the law is in a constant state of flux. Please consult an attorney before acting on any information contained on this page.

Ahoy. Arrgh. Porch pirates are here. 

This crime of opportunity is on the rise as more people shop online.

Whenever a tenant is caught stealing a package, our office can evict them without debate or discussion. Where it gets murkier is what standard of care housing providers must use to prevent this theft and what they are liable for whenever pirates rear their ugly heads.



Are the tides turning on squatters? Public opinion is trending in the right direction.

We decided to revisit this topic with several high-profile home takeovers being plastered in the headlines. Let’s discuss how to fend off parasitic guests and how to respond when unauthorized occupants take over a property.


A new twist to Weinstein 3.0

Landlords and their advocates are preparing for an epic battle after the sharp-elbowed president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation threatens to upend the rental housing industry with yet another attempt to repeal Costa Hawkins. Yet our industry partners are getting creative.

With the Protect Patients Now Act, Michael Weinstein gets a taste of his own medicine.

A ballot initiative would prohibit the sprawling international nonprofit from spending vast amounts of taxpayer money to advance radical rent control measures and make it clear that these funds must go where they are intended - to direct patient care.


Lawmakers can't seem to stop meddling with security deposit accounting and while they are at it, take aim at tenant screening fees

One thing we've learned about tenants' advocates is that they are a resilient bunch and given an inch, they will take a mile. After the ink barely dried on a new state law limiting security deposits, there are calls to further tweak security deposit rules.

More concerning to us is the effort to require housing providers to foot the entire bill to vet prospective tenants vying for a rental unit.

Right-sizing asking rents is an art form. Make the right economic decisions based on data and realistic expectations on what will get rental units cash flowing.

With a glut of vacancies, there is pressure to reduce rents, but amid skyrocketing costs of operating a rental business, there is also pressure to get the highest rent amounts.

Given the tension between these two competing forces, what's to give?



Like a bad neighbor, State Farm just isn't there for housing providers as it refuses to renew policies. 

What is driving insurance companies away from California in droves, and what are rental property owners to do? This is an endemic problem with no easy solution in sight, leaving landlords in a pickle. 

Let's discuss it. 




The Berkeley Renting Housing Coalition and the Rent Stabilization Board are marketing dual ballot measures to go in front of voters in November

One sensible piece of legislation would change how landlord taxes are spent and make more types of homes exempt from rent control.

Another ominous bill seeks to add teeth to the city’s rent control ordinance and extend rent control to “golden duplexes.”



March is the beginning of Spring, a time for renewal. It’s also a time for San Francisco housing providers to renew their obligations. 

If you or your clients own a rental property in San Francisco, please note that when a tenant is evicted through no fault of their own, there are increased relocation payments to escort them out.

To give the city a birds-eye view of housing stock, landlords and their agents must update their status in the “Housing Inventory” portal, which is a clever way of saying a rent registry. Moreover, March 1st is when annual Rent Board fees are due.


Lock landlord and tenant groups in a room until an agreement is reached.

That was the message we got from the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in their March 26th meeting. Advocates for tenants can’t see eye-to-eye with housing providers on mandatory mediation, expanded just cause requirements, increased relocation payments, and other items on the agenda.


The state of Alameda County

Under new leadership, the Board of Supervisors will preside over a host of proposals floated by tenant and landlord groups alike. What will the future hold for housing providers in Alameda County? For the answer to that question, we turn to an insider.

Read our interview »



We love pets. But we also have an affinity for the right of owners to have discretion in who occupies their rental units. 

In the coming weeks, we’ll see the final iteration of legislation that would bar property owners from asking about pets on applications, prohibit additional monthly fees for pet owners - dubbed “pet rent” - and limit pet security deposits.

The bill would mark a turning point in what has been a long and storied evolution of pet laws that housing providers have had to comply with.

A candid conversation 

We were privileged to discuss our origins, transitioning squatters out of a property, vetting tenants, and creating a culture of good citizenship in rental communities, among other topics.


Housing providers in Los Angeles may be soon asked to cool down residents. What does this mean for the Bay Area? 

A rental unit need not be a pristine palace, but it must be fit for human habitation. This gives us a good opportunity to review California’s habitability standards for residential units and how some lawmakers are attempting to redefine “substandard” conditions.

Let’s talk about tenant buyout agreements in San Francisco in light of recent numbers

We’re often asked about how much money landlords have to offer to transition tenants out in a legal, properly negotiated, and enforceable tenant buyout agreement.

How much money is required to entice the tenant to move out? The answer is it is all across the board but recently published metrics give us some context and a springboard to impart a few thoughts.


A ballot measure that would benefit small landlords? That might be a first. 

After a spirited primary season, we pivot to November. The main event will be Weinstein 3.0 as voters decide the fate of Costa-Hawkins. Yet our friends at the Berkeley Rental Housing Coalition are rolling out a ballot measure of their own.

The Renters Relief & Homeowners Protection Act would create a pool of funds for rental relief and give small property owners in Berkeley a financial cushion.


Bed bugs continue to bite Bay Area tenants and present pestering legal problems for their landlords

It’s been years since we’ve taken on this subject but in light of recent Orkin numbers that confirm that San Francisco has a bed bug problem, we felt obligated to revisit the many issues involved in detecting and eradicating these stealthy, blood-sucking insects.

Whenever bed bugs are discovered, landlords and tenants have mutual responsibilities to address these parasitic guests. We discuss them here.




2024 San Francisco lease agreement is off the press. Are your leases in the Stone Age?

Lease agreements should be a living, breathing creature to reflect new changes in the law, yet a recurring theme of our practice is housing providers using stale, outdated documentation that does not account for ever-changing requirements imposed on us.

Our office is always willing to review your lease agreements to ensure that they are modernized and that we anticipate all potential conflicts in a landlord-tenant relationship.


The stench surrounding lawsuits over Oakland's garbage removal

In a rarity, Oakland goes to bat for rental property owners by settling a lawsuit with California Waste Solutions for overcharging them for bringing recycling carts out to the curb.

As a thank-you gesture, landlords sue the city for franchise fees that inordinately burden multi-family owners. We felt obligated to chime in.


The news gets worse for Oakland housing providers besieged by new regulations

Housing providers could potentially wait months before getting cash flow if the rent owed is less than at least one month of “fair market rent,” as dictated by HUD. Those numbers just went up, making the wait longer for many landlords already bereft of thousands of dollars in rent during the COVID pandemic.

Do you know to whom you are renting?

Evictions, bad credit, broken leases, and any other blemishes are no barrier to renting as some shadowy online merchants peddle a new identity that conceals the rental risks of applicants seeking to disguise their checkered past.

Although credit privacy numbers are not inherently illegal, they are ripe for abuse, as we discuss in our latest article.


Let's talk about the epic battle of Weinstein 3.0

The impulse of local jurisdictions to enact draconian tenant protections has been put in check by Costa-Hawkins, a decades-old law that is one of the last bastions of property owner rights.

While efforts to repeal Costa-Hawkins have twice failed, we have serious concerns that given the political climate, the third time may be the charm unless rental housing providers and real estate practitioners mount a massive campaign to articulate a counternarrative.



Empty promises to be called out

If you want more holiday cheer, you can find it in a recent court decision that allows a lawsuit challenging San Francisco's Empty Homes Tax to move forward.

The City Attorney's Office argued that the lawsuit shouldn't proceed until owners pay the tax. A sober-minded judge disagreed, as we discuss in our latest article.


What will federalized tenant protections look like if they come to pass? 

The feds have recently pushed a Request for Input (RFI) after soliciting public input on issues faced by tenants housed in multifamily properties, as well as a study of the opportunities and impacts associated with imposing additional tenant protections in properties backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

While California law is more protective than federal law, for the most part, this balance may shift if the Biden Administration's policy objectives come to fruition.


Caution is urged when accepting rents from third parties

It’s not uncommon for a family member or caregiver to pay a portion of or all of a tenant’s rent and this third party later claims they are entitled to possession of the premises. Dismayed landlords may be disappointed to learn that they have inadvertently created a tenancy

This can be avoided if there is firm groundwork laid out before any money exchanges hands.



Putting nuisances into context in light of new state law

A new California law bans local “nuisance property” laws and “crime-free housing” programs that have emboldened landlords to act as their own police force and evict tenants for vaguely defined criminal activities.

We wholeheartedly support the prohibition of these types of laws, but point out that landlords can still terminate tenancies based on nuisance activities and, absent any local restrictions, can still conduct criminal background checks.




20024 New Year's resolutions for housing providers and property managers

In an annual tradition, we reflect on what has been an eventful year for housing providers and suggest attainable goals for our community to cauterize risk and improve their business in 2024.

What made it to the top of our list »





Oakland is being Oakland again by enacting still more tenant protections with little feedback from our community

Oakland City Council is the gift that keeps giving. Just in time for the holidays, lawmakers have handed over more safeguards to tenants.

Once upon a time, San Francisco and Berkeley were home to the most anti-landlord rules but Oakland is trying its best to become the Bay Area's strongest bastion of tenant rights in the Bay Area.

Let's see what they have cooked up now. »



A mixed bag of news in Alameda County

While some East Bay locales have resisted calls for increased regulations, Oakland has marched to the beat of its own drum by ushering in a sweeping package of new landlord-tenant rules at the behest of tenant activists.

SB 602 gives trespass letters added teeth

When owners encounter parasitic trespassers, they can file a declaration that puts law enforcement on alert that none belongs on the premises. This gives responding officers the discretion to arrest or cite the unwelcome person on the spot. Under SB 602, these documents are good for a full year.



Is the term landlord, or is it housing provider? The PC Police would like to know. 

Activists and certain elements in the media have weaponized the term "landlord," so this word has evolved into the softer language of being a "housing provider." We've decided to use both.


Handling noise disputes and avoiding larger problems down the road

One of the consequences of living in an apartment is noise from neighboring residents.

Some of it is tolerable, but when the decimals become excessive, it can lead to larger disputes. This makes it important to lay out noise policies early on and have an approach to respond to loud tenants.

New state law has overhauled the mental health system. What does this mean for rental housing providers?

When there is mental illness, addiction, and other societal woes, it will inevitably spill into and around buildings.

There are new tools for landlords, their agents, and other professionals to respond to upsetting behavior while improving the health, wellness, and quality of life of residents suffering from severe illnesses.


Scariest pitfalls for landlords and property managers

Witches, ghosts, and goblins should be the scariest thing housing providers and their agents should experience this Halloween, but there are some spooktacular mistakes that rental housing providers make that can lead to real-life horror after the ghouls are gone.




Mama Boys overstay their welcome, mother wins a lawsuit to evict her sons

Sensationalist stories plastered in the news about owners evicting their children and trusted caregivers may seem amusing, but this is no laughing matter.

It is disturbing when guests overstay their welcome, take control of the property, and worse yet, prey upon vulnerable individuals.

Rules are changing with evicting a tenant on the grounds of a substantial remodel

Deeply distrustful of these types of evictions, state lawmakers have put additional guardrails in place.

Effective April 1, 2024, owners should have their drawing plans and permits in hand before endeavoring to recover possession of the unit through a substantial remodel.


RUBS is an acronym for “Ratio Utility Building Systems” and is touted as a cost-effective, fair billing alternative when there are no submeters in a building. 

It stands to reason that larger units with more bedrooms and household members will be heavier consumers of water, sewage, electricity, gas, trash collection, and waste management.

Yet a billing system whereby a master-metered landlord is paid for utilities may rub tenants and rent boards the wrong way and we get into murky legal territory on if we can transition into RUBS and if so, when to do so in the lifespan of the tenancy.

Governor Newsom takes aim at anti-crime housing policies by inking AB 1418

Although we practice landlord-tenant law and are not criminal attorneys, these areas often intersect. When there is addiction, violence, mental illness, crime, and other societal woes, it inevitably spills into and around rental units.

Having seen all manner of dysfunction, we sound off in this piece.


Will a nonprofit gobble up rental units near you?

Following in the footsteps of San Francisco, East Palo Alto has passed the Opportunity to Purchase Act, giving qualified nonprofit buyers the right to purchase multifamily buildings and keep them affordable in perpetuity. There is informed speculation that similar measures will be exported elsewhere.





Oakland is at it again, considering another set of tenant protections

When Oakland's eviction moratorium expired, policymakers availed the opportunity to enact additional protections unrelated to the pandemic. Before the ink dried on those new laws, tenants' advocates floated even greater guardrails in a November 14 meeting convened by the City’s Community Economic Development Committee (CED).


Are your San Francisco fire alarm systems loud enough to pass the pillow test? 

Months ago, we warned of an impending deadline for SF fire alarm systems to be upgraded in certain residential buildings. Essentially, they have to be so loud as to awaken the most slumbering of residents, if not cause hearing impairment.


Concord’s long flirtation with rent control and just cause reasons for eviction enters a new phase of courtship

After years of soul-searching and debate on expanded tenant protections, we can expect a new regulatory regime in the intermediate future.


Have tenants owing COVID-related rent debt? The prospect of forgiving the debt creates a taxable event and this perhaps can be used as leverage. 

Sadly, many well-to-do tenants refused to pay rent just because they were protected by eviction moratoriums. For those tenants with the ability to pay, dangling the possibility of filing a 1099-C may incentivize them to be honorable and pay back the landlord some arrears because forgiven rent debt is considered income.





A newly minted law aims to reduce barriers to housing, limits security deposits to one month’s rent

Going into effect July 1, 2024, AB 12 is a landmark piece of legislation that limits security deposits to one month’s rent. The law makes no distinction between furnished and unfurnished units, but certain small landlords will be exempt.


Section 8 discrimination case settled for $105K

Another landlord was served with a helping of humble pie, and this time the slice was $105,000 in damages after discriminating against apartment hunters bearing housing subsidies, prying into sex and marital status, and doubling the amount that could be legally charged for a rental application fee.

The rest of us should take heed.



Potential tax savings in underperforming rental units when tenants are chronically not paying rent

If your property's value declines, the Alameda County Assessor's Office is willing to hear you out, provided you have supporting documentation and can make a compelling case.


The options for housing providers to protect their investments dwindle

As insurance companies leave California in droves, there are calls for reform. The Governor and regulators at the Department of Insurance have gotten the memo.


Reforming security deposit rules is just one item on the wish list of a renters' caucus

As a bit of trivia, only five state legislators are renters, but if their agenda comes to pass, the impact on housing providers will be anything but trivial.

In-depth: San Francisco tenant buyout agreements

We dig deeper into San Francisco tenant buyout agreements. While rules may differ in other locales, the fundamental way we approach buyouts is the same.



Housing providers overwhelmed with ever-changing notice requirements

Regulators have made a massive, concerted effort to educate tenants on the protections afforded to them, but there has been little outreach to landlords on their rights and responsibilities.

Squatting back in focus

The overtaking of property by squatters has made the news lately. Coupled with a question posed to Daniel by MarketWatch, we felt obligated to revisit this topic and give a refresher on how to remove unwelcome guests or trespassers.

Read more »


Parking wars in the Bay Area

The irony doesn't escape us. Although there is a false narrative in some quarters that rental property owners are fomenting homelessness, San Francisco's policy of towing thousands of vehicles puts renters at greater risk of displacement.

With space such a scarce and coveted commodity, we revisit the friction over parking.



A lawsuit challenging Berkeley's application of its rent regulations comes to a disappointing end

Courts have sided with Berkeley's Rent Stabilization Board in its interpretation that the whole purpose of Costa-Hawkins was to add to housing stock, not merely convert from one form of residential use to another.

It seems that regulators have the discretion to decide whether they themselves should be regulated.

Background and our concerns »




The orderly wind-down of eviction moratoriums throughout Alameda County. Or shall we say disorderly?

While some question marks remain, rental housing providers have greater clarity on managing landlord-tenant relationships. We condense the rules in an online guide.


Read more





Berkeley lawsuit puts Costa-Hawkins under a microscope.

When landlords purchased two derelict single-family homes, rehabilitated them, and converted them into triplexes, were these units subject to the City of Berkeley's Rent Stabilization and Eviction for Good Cause Ordinance?

The Rent Board's stance was yes, and the courts agreed, stating that the mere conversion from one form of residential use to another does not exempt them on the basis of Costa-Hawkins because there was no addition to housing stock.


Some sense of finality in Alameda County, but we are not done just yet.

While some Alameda County Supervisors were eager to revisit the county's eviction moratorium, the board was unable to take action because of obstructions, protests, and saddening losses. The only viable choice was to let the eviction ban sunset on April 29.

Yet this saga is not over. Like stubborn children, some East Bay cities are sorting out their own ordinances and attempting to cling to outlived tenant protections by their fingernails.


Any laggards not in compliance with San Francisco's rent registry?

March 1st ushered in new reporting requirements for SF owners and no matter our objections to the overreach, we have to comply with a new regulatory regime.

We do not yet fully know the extent of how Big Brother will use this information, but we do know that the deadline has passed and we want to get into good graces with the City.

Read more »



Supervisor David Haubert took on Alameda County's eviction moratorium in a Town Hall meeting. Now what?

The Supervisor hit all of the right notes, and our community loved what he had to say. But will this translate into action?

The legal implications when a tenant moves in a romantic partner

What are housing providers to do when a tenant wants to give the keys to a domestic partner who is an unfamiliar face to the landlord? This is one of the questions posed to Daniel in a recent online meetup and his response follows.

Fair housing "testers" look to push landlords off of a cliff

There are nonprofits hiring imposters for the sole purpose of catching landlords in the act of discriminatory housing practices, making it imperative that we are careful in our communication with prospective tenants.


No "New Deal" for tenants mentioned in Biden's address and only a fleeting reference to affordable housing

Despite the push for a Tenant Bill of Rights and with and with an affordable housing crisis upon us, we didn't hear much from POTUS on these topics in the State of the Union speech

An ordinance going into effect in July lights a fire under some SF rental property owners

Owners with three or more rental units with a fire alarm system will be soon required to pass the "pillow test" of 75 decibels.

Is the glass half empty or half full when it comes to San Francisco's multifamily and commercial real estate market?

We have been blessed with many friends in the real estate industry, and we ask one of them.

Think before you press send

We can't live without texts and emails, but messaging with tenants should be well thought out, and the limitations of technology should be recognized - texts and emails are no substitute for legally prescribed notices.

What to do with items left behind in rental units?

It is not finder-keepers. In fact, there are carefully choreographed steps for landlords to follow.

San Francisco's vulgar F word: fourplexes

After we lost track of the many fourplex-related hearings and political dustups, San Francisco finally passed its fourplex ordinance in October 2022. Fast forward to today. What does the ordinance do, and will it have any impact on our housing dearth?

Is a merchant's obligation to pay rent accrued during the heart of the pandemic excused because of COVID-related government edicts and shelter-in-place orders? 

In a victory for commercial landlords, courts rule in favor of SVAP III Poway Crossings, LLC when a fitness center claimed that they could not perform their contractual duty to pay rent.

Unique insurance challenges facing multifamily housing providers

In a two-part series, we sit down with Jude Winterhalter to discuss wrongful eviction coverage, the nuances of mixed-use properties, and more.

Get an overview, learn about wrongful eviction coverage, and the underestimation of replacement costs →

We continue the conversation with mixed-use properties →


It's been said that home is where the heart is, but what happens when that heart is broken? That answer has been revisited by new legislation that builds upon protections already in place for survivors of domestic violence.

Year in review: A look back at some consequential events for rental housing providers in 2022

It's been said that this year's book at midnight turns into the footnote in the next. That's partially true. For landlords, property managers, and real estate practitioners, a new regulatory regime that was spawned in 2022 will be more than a footnote in the new year. Some perspective is in order.

Noteworthy developments for our community →

New Year's resolutions for landlords, property managers, and the professionals who serve them

It's that time of year again.

In an annual tradition, we provide pointers on improving your rental business, cauterizing risk, growing your wealth, and making intelligent business decisions.

What made our top 10 list →

SCOTUS decision will impact those of you with resident managers. Now is the time to review your agreements.

As many divided Americans were affixed on the high court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade, we were following Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana, a seminal case that puts the California Private Attorneys General Act under scrutiny.

We explain the implications for rental housing providers who employ resident managers and submit that the time is ripe to take a hard look at the documentation that governs your relationships.




The Ellis Act: The ghosts of the past, present, and the future

In this in-depth piece, we take a hard look at the 1980s-era law that allows landlords to exit the rental business, debunk certain myths surrounding these no-fault evictions, explain statutory obligations, and offer another option for landlords stuck in an unprofitable venture short of bowing out the rental business. 


Read more »




The cry outs for expanded rent and eviction controls are gaining traction throughout the Bay Area

Amid rampant inflation, disgruntled renters are joining the rent control movement in droves. Calls for increased tenant protections are resonating in suburbia and places not traditionally known for activism. What's behind this groundswell of support?

We discuss it here →


San Francisco regulators clamp down on 'corporate rentals' and Intermediate Length Occupancy units in the city

There are instances when nomadic guests want to stay in San Francisco for more than 30 days, but less than a full year. These types of arrangments have been around for years and the companies offering these accommodations, often for decades.

Now, owners and operators are subject to a new regulatory regime as regulators look to police another iteration of the modern-day temporary flop.




An uptick in Owner move-in evictions as people yearn to return home

With a societal shift of people going to and fro during and after the pandemic, it was inevitable that property owners would want to come back home, but there is a deep distrust among regulators of these no-fault evictions.

There are several procedural requirements and potential pitfalls, making it prudent to seek counsel.

Effectuating an OMI/RMI properly, legally, and without ulterior motive →

A win for landlords in the most unlikely of places

San Francisco landlords will not have to give tenants a 10-day warning period to tenants who have failed to pay rent. That is according to a recent court decision overruling a portion of Ordinance No. 18-22. It flies in the face of state law, a judge ruled.

Bornstein Law applauds the tenacity of our industry partners in achieving this hard-won victory. Yet clearly, it is not a perfect world our landlording community lives in and many challenges remain, as we explain here.

What this victory means →


Developments do not get any rosier for rental property owners in the Republic called Alameda County

Despite some sentiment shared by the Board of Supervisors that the concerns of struggling landlords should be heard, lawmakers have allowed draconian protections to continue.

This comes at a time when unincorporated parts of Alameda County look to enact protections of their own and Oakland seeks to expand "just cause" protections to all properties.



With inflation taking its toll, should landlords raise rents?

As we emerge on the other side of the pandemic and people return to the Bay Area, should rents be raised just because the landlord is permitted to do so? There are no hard and fast answers, but we lay out a host of considerations.

Read more »



The glass is half-full after lawmakers extend California's eviction moratorium past April 1

In what is likely to be the last elongation of statewide eviction protections, AB 2179 should come as good news for rental housing providers.

Justice delayed, justice denied for San Francisco landlords?

The lawsuit isn't over until it's over, but landlord groups successfully blocked the city's ordinance that makes it necessary for landlords to issue a 10-day warning notice to tenants prior to serving a traditional 3-day notice.

A pair of ill-conceived bills gets reincarnated

Attacks on the Ellis Act and calls for a statewide rent registry persist despite earlier defeats, proving once again that tenants' advocates are a tenacious bunch that won't take no for an answer.

Punitive tax proposed for "greed-fueled" investors

To discourage cash-rich, corporate investors from gobbling up homes and quickly selling them for a profit, AB 1771 would impose a massive capital gains tax on transactions that are sold within three years of purchase. The tax dissipates the longer the home is owned.


Tenant screening software is put under its own scrutiny

Despite all of the marvels of technology, litigation arises after mistaken identities and fair housing violations result from algorithms that do not take into account individual circumstances.

Read more »


SF tenants can potentially stave off eviction by asserting a COVID-related hardship, courtesy of a new ordinance

San Francisco has done some soul searching in balancing the public policy of keeping renters housed while ensuring that landlords get cash-flowing again. Many questions linger and it will have to all be sorted out in court.

Ask a landlord attorney: 15 minutes with Daniel Bornstein

Daniel talks about owner move-in evictions, the status of the courts, and litigation challenging eviction moratoriums throughout Alameda County in this interview

Meet John, a sad casualty of the archaic eviction moratoriums that exist in Alameda County and Oakland

An Oakland landlord was so riddled with stress about losing his property because the tenant refused to pay rent, he was hospitalized, became disabled, and was forced to quit his job.

Meet Sheanna, another victim of outdated eviction moratoriums

A wonderful landlord poured her heart out to vulnerable people but her independent living arrangement had to be closed because of a harassing, non-paying tenant that could not be evicted.

Predictions of where Berkeley rents are headed

There has been a dust-up in Berkeley with university staff fed up with high housing costs and natives who want their city back. We get out our crystal ball.


Empty promises in taxing empty rental units?

First, San Francisco voters approved a tax on vacant storefronts. Will there be an appetite to punish owners of vacant residential properties come November?


A candid conversation with Daniel Bornstein

A heart-to-heart interview about how courts are functioning, Alameda County's eviction moratorium, no-fault evictions in SF, and rampant crime in and around rental units.


Laws and public policy surrounding rental properties look like a modern-day Robin Hood

There is a movement steaming forward to compel owners to use their property for the greater public good.

Hey, Mr. Weatherman, when can I raise the rents?

Anti-price gouging laws can be triggered because of a drought yet if it rains too much, landlords can also be limited in how much rent can be raised.


Preventing a fire tragedy in the aftermath of the Bronx inferno

Horrified and deeply saddened over the tragedy, we stress the importance of providing adequate heating and recognizing fire hazards.


Reshuffling of owners and tenants during the pandemic is like a game of musical chairs

Throughout COVID, everyone has had ample time for life reassessment, and for many in the Bay Area, this has meant rethinking where to call home, with a host of legal implications for landlords.


San Francisco voters will decide the fate of District Attorney Chesa Boudin in a June recall election

For many rental property owners, he is not an endeared figure. While there will be a referendum on his performance, we remind landlords that the buck stops with them when crime is detected.


California cracks down on fraudulent practices surrounding emotional support animals

While rental housing providers must make "reasonable accommodations," AB 468 sends a clear message that these accommodations should be reserved for those with legitimate needs.


Is your website compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

Being compliant with the ADA is not a new concept, but a rash of lawsuits throughout the Bay Area has brought this issue more top of mind.


San Francisco looks to give problematic tenants more time to pay rent or turn over a new leaf

A proposed ordinance would require landlords pursuing certain types of evictions to first provide their tenants written notice and an opportunity to cure, unless the eviction is based on an imminent health or safety issue.

New Year's resolutions for landlords and property managers

As we look into the mirror, there is a lot we have learned in what has been a tumultuous year for our community. In an annual tradition, here's what made our top 10 list of how we can improve in the New Year.

From the archives

Putting people over technology when it comes to tenant screening

Tenant screening has always been a vitally important part of landlording and property management that has become all the more relevant in the age of COVID. Of course, we live in a digital age and while technology plays a part in tenant screening, it is no panacea. And the cloth cuts both ways.


Tenant buyout agreements: some tricks of the trade

We dispense some tips when negotiating an ethical, legal, and enforceable tenant buyout agreement.


The movement for denser housing builds momentum

It's finally sinking in that more housing, not increased regulation, is the answer to solve our affordable housing dearth.


Should landlords raise the rent just because they can? A bit of strategy

We don't have a crystal ball but we can do the next best thing in giving a 360-degree view of the market and impart some thoughts on getting cash flowing again.


Tenants may soon get a bigger megaphone to air out their concerns under an ordinance proposed by San Francisco lawmakers.''

In this blog, we impart some advice in the eventuality that tenant organizations are formed and the landlord feels cornered by residents who express grievances.


Space is a scarce and prized commodity in the Bay Area so it is no wonder why parking has become a vexing issue for drivers, landlords, and tenants

Physically removing a vehicle can fix an immediate problem, but it can invite acrimony later on.


The good, the bad, and the ugly about rental housing inspections

Keeping a rental unit in habitable condition is a three-fold responsibility between landlords, tenants, and municipalities policing the relationship, but these lines are often blurred.


Although lawmakers pass a bill establishing a fund to fight evictions, Governor Newsom refuses to sign it

The "no eviction without representation" movement has its roots in San Francisco, but AB 1487 would have created a statewide fund that would, among other things, provide direct legal representation to tenants staring at eviction.


California cracks down on fraudulent practices surrounding emotional support animals

A newly enacted law sends a clear message that accommodations should be reserved for people with a genuine need for four-legged companions and puts some common-sensible measures into place to ensure that there are no abuses.


Our takes on the Supreme Court decision to strike down the federal eviction moratorium

While the SCOTUS decision will have little impact on California, it does teach us an important civics lesson in the separation of powers.


Using Temporary Restraining Orders to respond to violence or threats by tenants

Temporary Restraining Orders can be sought to immediately control the behavior of bad actors in a rental unit but the court is typically reluctant to order the removal of a tenant from a rental unit through civil harassment proceedings, preferring instead to rely on the unlawful detainer process to secure possession for a landlord.


After another Airbnb party tragedy, rogue short-term rentals are back in focus

After yet another tragedy unfolded in a Sunnyvale Airbnb party house, we revisit the liability associated with the modern-day iteration of the temporary flop.


Thinking smarty and strategically about tenant buyout agreements in the age of COVID

A huge pot of rental assistance funds available has changed our calculus a bit on approaching agreements whereby the tenant voluntarily vacates the unit.


Study confirming the uneven impacts of the pandemic on small landlords and their tenants is off the press

UC Berkeley's Terner Center for Housing Innovation published the results of a national survey that confirmed the obvious - mom and pop landlords are in dire straights after experiencing a shortfall in income.


Impact of bankruptcies on California eviction actions

We've heard apocalyptic predictions about an impending eviction "tsunami," but what about a bankruptcy tsunami as debtors finally have to pay the piper? A bankruptcy can be a thorn in eviction proceedings but will only delay the inevitable.



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