RELEASE: Jane Kim Calls for “Compassion Clause” in Costa-Hawkins to Help Families that Have Suffered Loss of Loved Ones

Jane Kim Calls for “Compassion Clause” in Costa-Hawkins to Help Families that Have
Suffered Loss of Loved Ones
Call Comes in the Wake of a San Francisco Man Facing Doubling of Rent After Death of Partner

San Francisco, CA – San Francisco Supervisor and State Senate candidate Jane Kim today called upon elected leaders in Sacramento to work to reform Costa-Hawkins to provide a compassion exemption on rent increases in cases where there is a loss of close family members. Costa-Hawkins allows landlords to raise rents with any change in the occupancy of a unit; recently, in San Francisco, a management company raised the rent of a man within weeks of his partner having committed suicide.

“There is no doubt we need wholesale reform of Costa-Hawkins and I’ll push for that in Sacramento,” said Kim. “But we can start by helping people like Chris Holden who first suffered from the loss of his longtime partner and then was hit with an unaffordable rent increase. When tenants lose loved ones, they shouldn’t also face losing their homes.”

As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Christopher Holden shared a studio apartment with his partner of five years. Two weeks after his partner committed suicide, the management company holding their lease notified Holden that his rent would nearly double. Chris’ partner had been the primary leaseholder and the increase was allowable under Costa-Hawkins.

Today, Jane Kim is calling for a “compassion clause” to Costa-Hawkins that would prohibit rent increases for one year after the death of a family member, even if that resulted in a change in occupancy. Annual rent adjustments would still be allowed.

“The very least we can do as a compassionate society is to allow family to have time to grieve, pick up the pieces and begin to rebuild their lives. The law right now, however, allows landlords to pile economic distress onto emotional upheaval,” said Kim. “And while I know the vast majority of landlords would never use such a tragedy as an excuse to increase prices, we need to have protections for people like Chris.”

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