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SAN FRANCISCO-San Francisco Supervisor Tom Ammiano’s complicated compromise over how much tenants must pay property owners for capital improvements passed easily at yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, earning a 9-1 vote.

A group of property owners had sued the city following the November 2000 passage of Proposition H, which drastically limited the costs tenants pay for such major expenditures. They obtained a favorable ruling last year from Superior Court Judge A. James Robertson, who ruled the proposition unconstitutional.

The decision exposed some tenants, particularly low-income and senior residents, to major rent hikes in buildings where high-ticket improvements had been made. So early this year, supervisors voted for special eviction protections for those would could not afford to fork over large sums all at once.

At the meeting, Ammiano compared the sharp ideological divisions between San Francisco’s tenants, who make up about two-thirds of city residents, and property owners to “philosophical apartheid,” but added that he believed the art of compromise prevailed in this case.

The new plan calls for up to 50% pass-through charges in buildings with six or more units and, in smaller buildings, 100% collected over a longer period of 10 to 20 years. Also, low-income residents can seek hardship exemptions under the new rules.

This approach received praise from the San Francisco Tenants Union and the San Francisco Apartment Association. It also addresses related issues such as making it easier for landlords to collect the 50% reimbursement they are entitled to when bond measures increase their property taxes.

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