Renters, rejoice. A landmark ballot measure that offers a new, vital level of protection for San Francisco’s tens of thousands of renters appears to have passed, with the latest poll reporting 56 percent in favor.
“This has been a dream of the Tenant’s Union for many, many years,” says Deepa Varma, executive director of the Tenants Union, in regard to Prop F. “The Tenants Union believes organizing is the beginning, and organizing is the power. But when you are facing a judge as a tenant, and you are alone, it doesn’t look good. This is a historic moment for the country, but it’s looking pretty good that we are changing the conversation around housing and what everybody needs. I’ll see you in fucking court.”
The proposition was drafted by tenants rights advocates, and quickly won the approval of local groups that cater to populations experiencing homelessness, or those struggling to make ends meet in a city that only seems to get more expensive every year.
And from the get-go, it seemed likely to pass. Organizers managed to get more than double the number of signatures required to get the measure on the ballot, weeks before the filing deadline. The top three mayoral candidates voiced their support (London Breed, notably, much later than the others), and in a city with 64 percent voters, the odds were certainly in Prop. F’s favor.
Now that it’s (nearly offically) passed, the Mayor’s Office of Housing will be in charge of deciding exactly how it will be enforced, and whether a new office will be created and staffed with lawyers, or if additional funds will be granted to organizations like Eviction Defense San Francisco, who already offer free lawyer services to low-income city residents.