RENT STABILIZATION BOARD
Regular Meeting Minutes

Monday, March 21, 2011

7 PM

APPROVED

Video Archive


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1. Roll call – Chair Stephens called the meeting to order at 7:15 p.m.  Aimee Mueller called roll.

Commissioners present:  Dodsworth, Harr, Shelton, Townley, Tregub, Webster (7:49), Stephens
Commissioners absent:  Blake, Drake
Staff present:  Brown, Kelekian, Mueller, Law

2. Approval of Agenda  M/S/C  (Tregub/Harr) APPROVE AGENDA.  Voice vote.  Passed:  6-0-0-3.  ABSENT:  Blake, Drake, Webster.

3.   Public Forum  There was one speaker:  Paul Barker spoke about his good landlord.

4. Approval of February 24, 2011 regular meeting minutes  M/S/C  (Harr/Tregub)  APPROVE MINUTES AS WRITTEN.  Voice vote.  Passed:  6-0-0-3.  ABSENT:  Blake, Drake, Webster.

Action Item 6.a.(1) was then taken out of order to allow Commissioner Webster to be present for the appeal as Commissioner Shelton had recused herself.

6.a.(1)   First reading of proposed amendments to Regulation 702 [Payment of Interest on Security Deposits]  [IRA/AGA/Habitability Committee)  M/S/C  (Shelton/Tregub)  APPROVE ON FIRST READING THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO REGULATION 702.  Voice vote.  Passed:  6-0-0-3.  ABSENT:  Blake, Drake, Webster. 

5.   Appeal Time Certain – 7:15 p.m.

Appeal T-5128 (2919 Hillegass Avenue, Unit #C)  Parties present:  Rory Merry (Appellant), Jose Rodriguez (Respondent) and Ronald Quintero (on behalf of Respondent). 

M/S/C  (Dodsworth/Harr)  APPROVE LEGAL STAFF’S RECOMMENDATION TO ADJUST THE AMOUNT AWARDED TO THE TENANT TO ACCOUNT FOR DETERIORATION OF THE KITCHEN WALLS AND AFFIRM ALL OTHER ASPECTS OF THE HEARING EXAMINER’S DECISION.  Roll call vote.  YES:  Dodsworth, Harr, Townley, Tregub, Webster, Stephens;  NO: None;  ABSTAIN/ABSENT: Blake, Drake;  RECUSED: Shelton.  Passed:  6-0-0-2-1. 

6.   Action Items

a.   From Board Members, Executive Director and Committees

2. Proposal to approve staff recommendation on the following requests for waiver of late registration penalties  (Executive Director)

Ministerial Waivers

Waiver No. Property Address
None

Discretionary Waivers

Waiver No.      Property Address
Continued from the February 24th meeting:
3867                 1192 Carrison Street
3898                 1616 Allston Way
3905                 3025 Shattuck Avenue
       _________________________                  

3914                  2818 Telegraph Avenue
3917                  1622 Parker Street
3918                  2045 Emerson Street
3919                  1726 Lincoln Street
3920                  1440 Fairview Street
3923                  2728 Haste Street
3927                  2310 Piedmont Avenue
3937                  1404 Russell Street
3945                  838 Bancroft Way
3947                  815 Regal Road 

Commissioner Townley pulled Waiver Nos. 3867, 3898 and 3905 for discussion.  Commissioner Tregub pulled Waiver No. 3927; and Commissioner Shelton pulled Waiver Nos. 3917, 3918, 3919 and 3923 for discussion.

M/S/C  (Harr/Townley)  APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS FOR WAIVER NUMBERS 3914, 3920, 3937, 3945 AND 3947.  Voice vote.  Passed:  6-0-0-3.  ABSENT:  Blake, Drake, Webster.

M/S/C (Townley/Harr)  APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION FOR WAIVER NUMBER 3917.  Voice vote.  Passed:  6-0-0-3.  ABSENT:  Blake, Drake, Webster.

M/S/C  (Tregub/Townley)  APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION TO WAIVE NINETY PERCENT OF THE PENALTY FOR WAIVER NUMBER 3918 AND SEND A LETTER TO PROPERTY OWNER SUGGESTING THAT A RESPONSIBLE PARTY ASSUME MANAGEMENT OF HER FINANCES.  Roll call vote.  YES: Dodsworth, Harr, Shelton, Townley, Tregub, Stephens;  NO: None;  ABSTAIN: None;  ABSENT:  Blake, Drake, Webster.  Passed:  6-0-0-3.

M/S/C  (Townley/Tregub)  APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION FOR WAIVER NUMBER 3919.  Voice vote.  Voice vote.  Passed:  6-0-0-3.  ABSENT:  Blake, Drake, Webster. 

M/S/C  (Townley/Harr)  APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION FOR WAIVER 3923.  Friendly amendment by Dodsworth:  ALSO SEND A LETTER TO PROPERTY OWNER INFORMING THAT THERE ARE PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT SERVICES AVAILABLE TO ASSIST HER WITH TIMELY PAYMENT IN FUTURE.  Voice vote. Passed:  5-1-0-3.  NO: Shelton; ABSENT:  Blake, Drake, Webster.

M/S/C  (Tregub/Townley)  APPROVE STAFF RECOMMENDATION FOR WAIVER NUMBER 3927 AND ASK STAFF TO REITERATE THAT THE GRACE PERIOD IS SIXTY DAYS.  Voice vote.  Passed:  6-0-0-3.  ABSENT:  Blake, Drake, Webster.  

M/S/C  (Tregub/Webster)  APPROVE THE WAIVER COMMITTEE’S RECOMMENDATION FOR WAIVER NUMBERS 3867, 3898 AND 3905 WHICH IS TO WAIVE 80% (EIGHTY PERCENT) OF THE PENALTY, AND IMPOSE THE REMAINING 20% (TWENTY PERCENT) ON THE CURRENT OWNER; SEEK FULL AMOUNT OF PENALTIES FROM THE FORMER OWNER THROUGH A LAWSUIT IN SMALL CLAIMS COURT, AND CREDIT THE CURRENT OWNER WITH ANY AMOUNT OVER EIGHTY PERCENT OF THE PENALTIES COLLECTED AS A RESULT OF THE LAWSUIT.  Friendly amendment by Dodsworth:  REFER THE ISSUE OF POSSIBLE INCREASES IN FUTURE PENALTIES IMPOSED ON NEW OWNERS TO THE WAIVER COMMITTEE FOR REVIEW.  Roll call vote.  YES:  Dodsworth, Harr, Shelton, Tregub, Webster, Stephens;  NO: Townley;  ABSTAIN: None;  ABSENT: Blake, Drake.  Passed:  6-1-0-2. 

7.   Information and Announcements

a. Reports from Board Members/Staff
            
(1) Updated Appendices A, B and C of the Rent Board Regulations  Staff Attorney Matt Brown briefly summarized the recent updates to these appendices and took questions from Commissioners.  

(2) Update on completing the RTS upgrade project  The Executive Director informed the Board that he has received a revised bid from the vendor but negotiations are still in progress.  He said his original goal was to have a proposal for the Budget and Personnel Committee’s review on Wednesday, March 23rd, and then present their subsequent recommendation to the full Board at their Special Meeting the following day (Thursday, March 24th).  Instead, he said he’d like more time to complete negotiations/revisions to the existing bid and hopes to have a recommendation to present to the full Board in April.
 
(3) Special Meeting of the Rent Stabilization Board on Thursday, March 24, 2011 to discuss and possibly take action on the RTS upgrade project   Discussed in Item 7.a.(2) above.

(4) Update on recent staffing changes and pending recruitments  The Executive Director announced that Aimee Mueller had been selected for the Administrative Staff Assistant position.  He said that of the 155 applicants for the positions, approximately 43 made the eligibility list; of those 43, only five people were ranked in the top category by the Human Resources Department and Aimee was one of the five.  Both Chair Stephens and Commissioner Webster said they were impressed with the caliber of the applicants who interviewed for this position and wanted to thank and acknowledge them.  With regard to the Staff Attorney positions, the Executive Director said he hopes to have job offers extended for some or all of the positions in the next month.

(5) January 25, 2011 Council report regarding Proposed Open Government Ordinance  Chair Stephens mentioned this item but there was no discussion. 

(6) Copies of letters accompanying the Notices of Apparent Lawful Rent Ceiling mailed to landlords and tenants  In packet and self-explanatory.
 
(7) March 8, 2011 Council Work Session Report on Solid Waste Recycling Assessment  Commissioner Townley discussed recent efforts to expand recycling and composting services to tenants in large apartment buildings.  He also mentioned the Sloan Vazquez report that has been discussed by the Safe & Sustainable Housing Committee and will soon be before the City Council. After discussion of this report and comments by several Board members, Commissioner Townley also acknowledged Commissioner Dodsworth’s contribution to this issue.  Chair Stephens advised that members of the public interested in this issue should pay attention to the Council’s upcoming Budget Workshop where this item will likely be covered.

(8) February 19, 2011 e-mail from Marianne Robinson regarding water and sewer service charges  Chair Stephens said she would like this item referred to the IRA/AGA/Habitability Committee for review.

(9) March 1, 2011 e-mail from Kristin Hunziker thanking the Rent Board for its work  Commissioner Tregub expressed his thanks and appreciation of staff and his fellow Commissioners for their hard work which he feels is clearly effective and impactful, as indicated by this letter.

The remaining items were not discussed but were in the agenda packet and self-explanatory.

(10) March 8, 2011 letter from Carol Denney with information regarding secondhand smoke and the issue of “grandfathering” smokers into smoke-free buildings  (Executive Director)

(11) February 18, 2011 article in San Francisco Chronicle titled “Court Slaps Landlord Who Cheated Tenants” (Executive Director)

(12) February 23, 2011 article from The Daily Californian Online titled “City Ordinance Would Charge Fee on New Housing to Fund Low-Income Units”  (Executive Director)

(13) March 2, 2011 article in East Bay Express titled “Tenants Win Big Fraud Case Against Landlord”  (Commissioner Tregub)

b.   Updates and Announcements regarding Committee/Board Meetings

(1) Budget and Personnel  In an earlier item, the possibility of scheduling a meeting on Monday, March 28th.  

(2) Outreach  Committee Chair Webster said their next meeting hasn’t been scheduled but Nick Traylor has proposed several dates.   

(3)   IRA/AGA and Habitability  Committee Chair Stephens said the Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 23rd at 5:00 p.m.

(4)  Eviction/Section 8/Foreclosure  Committee Chair Harr discussed some of the Committee’s recent work, including discussion of a possible Anti-Harassment Ordinance, review of the contracts with Eviction Defense Center and East Bay Community Law Center, and the Relocation Ordinance.  She informed the Board that the Housing Advisory Commission is holding a Public Hearing on the Relocation Ordinance on April 7th at the South Berkeley Senior Center.  She also mentioned the upcoming workshops on Foreclosures being conducted by staff.

(5)  Safe & Sustainable Housing  Committee Chair Townley said the 4x4 Committee will be considering the soft story seismic issue at their next meeting.

(6)  4 x 4 City Council/RSB Housing Committee  The Executive Director mentioned that we should let the Mayor’s office know we are ready and available to consider possible dates.

(7)  Ad Hoc Committee on Waiver Process

(8)  Future Special Meetings

c.  Discussion of items for possible placement on future agenda   Chair Stephens noted that the issue of discussing an alternative voting procedure for election of Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson is still pending but, before it can be placed on a future agenda, she would like to have something in writing from at least two Commissioners as a starting point for discussion.

8.   Adjournment  M/S/C  (Stephens/Townley)  TO ADJOURN THE MEETING IN HONOR OF THE LOSS, SUFFERING AND PERSEVERANCE OF JAPANESE PEOPLE; AND IN RECOGNITION THAT THEIR CURRENT REALITY IS OUR POSSIBLE FUTURE.  Voice vote.  Passed: 7-0-0-2. ABSENT:  Blake, Drake.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:34 p.m.