Tuesday, May 28, 2019

BOMA California Advocacy Update: Lactation Rooms, Wayfair Bill/Online Sales Tax, Possible Increase in Property Taxes

Please take a moment to review this advocacy update from BOMA California.


Once again, we are dealing with a bill in the legislature that mandates expanded access to Lactation Rooms in commercial buildings. The bill, AB 142 by Senator Weiner from San Francisco, is very similar to a bill he carried last year that was vetoed by Governor Brown. The new version passed another major hurdle this week when the Senate voted 26-9 in favor of the measure.

As an industry our main concerns with the bill is that it brings building owners and managers into the middle of an employer-employee relationship in which we do not belong.

In terms of building code issues, the bill is very owner-occupied-centric. The issues we have mainly occur with multi-tenant situations where responsibility for tenant improvements may be 100% on the owner, 100% on the tenant, or some combination thereof, but as the bill is written it ignores how leases are written and agreed upon.

Also, this bill assumes that all real estate markets across the state are the same – akin to those in coastal cities – and will be much more difficult to comply with in areas where tenants have less capital to work with.

Over the past two months we have been working with our legislative committee, the author, and his staff to identify our specific issues and try to resolve them. Here they are, and you are encouraged to share this information with local legislators:

ISSUE 1. The entity responsible for making modifications should be who is responsible for providing the space (it is common for tenants to control their own space). This is how it is in S.F.’s ordinance.

SOLUTION: Clarify the entity triggering the law is the responsible party for the accommodation (that may be a building owner, manager, or tenant).

ISSUE 2. Currently the bill triggers a Tenant Improvements in spaces thats not part of the qualifying event. An improvement in one tenant’s Premises should not trigger requirements in other Premises in building/center. Shifts cost and/or requires use of common space that may not exist.

SOLUTION: Clarify this only applies to the space triggering the law.

ISSUE 3. If no reasonable space within Premises and no need to provide space elsewhere in building/center if no room in Premises. This commonly occurs in an industrial campus setting where each company has its individual space. SOLUTION: Provide an exemption for properties that do not have common space/office space.

ISSUE 4. Number of employees at one location instead of companywide. Bill currently could trigger based on company employees not the actual number on site.

SOLUTION: Clarify occupancy load pertains to the onsite employees only.

ISSUE 5. Technical issue. “Daily occupancy” language is not a common term used in law. There are fire marshal standards for max occupancy but there are not statewide standards for occupancy load.

SOLUTION: Work with the Local Building Officials Association to determine now local building officials would determine how many employees will be on premises daily.

ISSUE 6. Technical/Governance issue. We think the building code references are unneeded. The provision of lactation accommodation is a “service” as opposed to a physical occupancy. Meaning that the “service accommodation” will be triggered at some point post-initial construction and will be dependent on the staffing needs of individual tenants in the building. So, the appropriate response to this will be the provision of lactation accommodation by the employer (as opposed to the building owner).

SOLUTION: Strike the building code references and provide direction through the Labor Code and or to local government inspectors.

We are suggesting a simpler way to write the bill would be to take the Labor Code provisions in current law and just require as part of that accommodation the table, chair, refrigerator, etc. be available. We will keep you posted.


Last year the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision in a case we have been closely following and, in California, have helped drive much of the discussion. The South Dakota v. Wayfair decision overturns the outdated Quill decision from 1992 and clears the way for states to collect sales taxes from retailers that do not have a physical presence in their state.

This was a massive win for companies that own buildings that provide shopping services to the public and corrects a decades-long loophole that allowed online retailers to avoid charging sales tax just like physical retailers, which created a perverse incentive to not build in certain states.

At the national level we congratulate both International Council of Shopping Centers and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) for their years of dogged work on this issue.

However, in California we had to write implementing legislation. That bill, AB 147 (Burke; D-Los Angeles) was recently signed into law, in another victory for the commercial real estate industry. AB 147 establishes a comprehensive and more equitable set of post-Wayfair tax collection rules that make sense for consumers, small businesses, and the state.

This bill is designed to modernize California law consistent with the holding in Wayfair, which allows California to impose a use tax collection duty on retailers with specified levels of economic activity in California, even though they do not have a physical presence here.

This bill also seeks to ensure that small businesses are not unduly burdened by the default expansion of the duty to collect use tax resulting from Wayfair's interaction with California's long-arm statute. Finally, this bill recognizes the realities of today's e-commerce economy by requiring marketplace facilitators (e.g., Amazon and eBay) to collect sales and use tax (SUT) on behalf of their third-party retailers. For those remote retailers that sell to California consumers exclusively through these platforms, this provision will alleviate the need to collect and remit SUT on their facilitated sales.


A bill that will gut the Proposition 13 protections property owners have in this state was has moved through two policy committees on party line votes and just passed off the Senate Suspense File.

We strongly Oppose SCA 5, a bill which would allow school districts to increase property taxes with a 55 percent approval of the voters participating in the election – instead of a two-thirds vote of the district’s electorate as currently required under the State Constitution – if the proposition is approved by the school governing board and includes certain requirements, as specified. The measure also would facilitate various local tax increases by lowering the minimum voter approval to a percentage of the voters participating in the election instead of the district’s qualified voting electorate.

This bill would gut Prop 13 by removing the longstanding protections of that landmark measure that requires a 2/3 vote to increase property taxes for certain activities.

UPDATE: Building Facade Inspection and Maintenance Ordinance - Reminder

UPDATE - May 28, 2019

A friendly reminder that this ordinance is in effect. Details here. San Francisco Existing Building Code Chapter 4E requires that building façades undergo initial and subsequent inspections according to a schedule based on the original construction date of a building. These inspections, as well as reporting and maintenance, are to be done as detailed in this Administrative Bulletin and in accordance with the San Francisco Existing Building Code.

Please email johnb@boma.com if  you have any questions.

UPDATE - August 1, 2017

The San Francisco Façade Inspection and Maintenance bulletin that will implement the recently passed legislation requiring that building facades be inspected and maintained in a safe manner is now available.

Click here to review the draft requirements.

This San Francisco Department of Building Inspection Administrative Bulletin should be of particular importance to members who own or manager older buildings that may have historic facades.

Original Post - May 31, 2017

On May 6, 2016, Mayor Ed Lee signed into law the Building Facade Inspection and Maintenance Ordinance. BOMA San Francisco Codes and Regulations Committee members were part of the working group that helped shape this new law.

Click here to review the new law.

This legislation requires the facades of certain buildings having five or more stories undergo initial and subsequent inspections according to a schedule based on the original construction date of a building. The program was developed from extensive community and design professional input aimed at reducing the risk to the public and the City’s resilience from façade failure. The legislation provides clarification to the existing requirements of SFBC Section 3401.2 and brings San Francisco up to the national standard of required regular inspection and maintenance. Buildings will be safer leading up to an inevitable earthquake and provide for clear requirements for buildings after the earthquake.

We have received inquiries from our members regarding the compliance timeline for the new law. The San Francisco Department of Building Inspection is in the process of writing the guidelines for buildings owners to comply and it is expected that they will be available later this year.

Monday, May 27, 2019

One Richmond San Francisco

BOMA San Francisco members met with San Francisco District 1 Supervisor Sandra Fewer recently. It was a wonderful meeting discussing issues of concern to the industry, the City and County of San Francisco, and more importantly District 1.

District 1 in San Francisco includes the neighborhoods of Inner Richmond, Central Richmond, Outer Richmond, Lone Mountain, Golden Gate Park, Lincoln Park, University of San Francisco, and the Farallon Islands.

Supervisor Fewer mentioned the One Richmond campaign - an effort to unite all of the Richmond District:

One Richmond is an identity developed by residents of the Richmond to unify the community and to cultivate neighborhood pride centered on taking care of one another, taking care of the Richmond, and supporting our local businesses.

Led by Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer and with support from The Richmond Neighborhood Center, and the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, One Richmond aims to build and strengthen community among our Richmond District residents and businesses.

It's important that BOMA members - especially those who live in the District, consider signing up for this campaign to improve upon what already is a wonderful place to live, work and support each other. 

More information about One Richmond can be found here.

BOMA International's Political Action Committee (BOMAPAC) Needs Your Support

BOMAPAC is BOMA International’s political action committee. It enables BOMA International’s advocacy team to raise money to re-elect political candidates for federal office who know and understand – and support – commercial real estate issues.

Whether or not you are politically aware, there is no better way to support the candidates and the issues that impact your professional and personal lives. Your contribution, combined with the donations from your BOMA colleagues from across the U.S., will help ensure that BOMA International has the power to back those members of Congress who show leadership and commitment to commercial real estate issues. So let your voice be heard!

Help BOMA San Francisco Advocacy Leader, Jim Collins (pictured above), as he spearheads the effort for BOMA San Francisco to ensure that congressional seats are held by individuals who understand real estate’s issues and challenges and can have a positive impact on your livelihood.

Can we count on you to send a check or fill out this form with your credit card information? Members typically donate $100 to $250, but any amount would help the cause. Checks or credit card information should be sent to:

BOMA San Francisco
Attention to: John Bozeman (johnb@boma.com)
233 Sansome Street, Suite 800
San Francisco, CA 94104

Your support of the BOMA International PAC enables them to pursue their vital effort to protect and enhance our industry in the following ways:
  • BOMAPAC is the only voice solely representing multi-tenant office building owners and managers in Washington, DC.
  • BOMA has been the lead organization in pressing for a permanent 15 year Leasehold Depreciation schedule with Congress.
  • BOMA has been a key leader in promoting tax credits for energy efficiency upgrades to commercial real estate.
  • BOMA was one of the key groups who lobbied Congress to renew the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act coverage for commercial property owners, which was recently passed.
  • BOMA continues to lobby to retain the so-called carried interest tax obligation on real estate developments as a capital gains tax item rather treating it as ordinary income. 
  • BOMA International is the only commercial real estate organization that is active and effective in the international building codes writing and adoption process. New codes or amended existing codes can have a huge and long-lasting impact on our industry.
*Federal law requires political action committees to report the name, mailing address, occupation and employer of each individual who contributes in excess of $200 in a calendar year. Contributions are not tax deductible. Corporate contributions or contributions by foreign nationals are prohibited.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Save the Date: Tall Buildings Safety Strategy Summit on Tuesday, June 18th

BOMA San Francisco Members:

Please save the date and join City officials, staff, and invited experts Tuesday, June 18, for a review and discussion of San Francisco’s Tall Buildings Safety Strategy. Download a copy of the report.

Your participation is paramount.

This half-day forum will be held at City Hall’s North Light Court, 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., with programming beginning at 9:00 a.m. RSVP for the event and reserve your seat for one of the breakout sessions.

The first of its kind in the nation, the Tall Buildings Safety Strategy is San Francisco’s roadmap to enhance public safety before the next big earthquake, improve the City’s emergency response, and shorten recovery time after an earthquake.

June’s event will be an opportunity to engage in conversations around the recommendations set forth by the Tall Buildings Safety Strategy and help prioritize the City’s next steps to address the unique seismic risks of these complex structures.

The City welcomes the conversations to come as the entire City comes together to support a safe, resilient, and vibrant San Francisco:

Naomi Kelly, City Administrator
Mary Ellen Carroll, Executive Director of the Department of Emergency Management
Tom Hui, Director of Department of Building Inspection, S.E., C.B.O.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

UPDATE: San Francisco's Better Market Street Project Open Houses - June 1st and June 5th

BOMA San Francisco members, please consider attending this event to learn more about Better Market Street, the City's multi-agency proposal to transform 2.2 miles of Market Street - from Steuart Street to Octavia Boulevard.

Project team members from San Francisco Public Works, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and SF Planning will be on hand to discuss the project design, as well as key topics:

  • The first phase of the project - Market Street between Fifth and Eighth streets - scheduled to break ground in 2020;
  • A design alternative for Market Street, between Hayes and Gough streets;
  • Commercial loading;
  • Transit stops

The A.C.T. Costume Shop is located near the entrance to the Civic Center BART/Muni station on the south side of Market Street (near Seventh street). Bike valet also will be provided.

For more details, email bettermarketstreet@sfdpw.org.

Monday, May 20, 2019

San Francisco Department of Building Inspection's Earthquake Safety Fair on June 11, 2019: Tall Building Safety Strategy, Vacant Commercial Storefront Ordinance and MORE!

Our partners at the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection (SFDBI) are gearing up for the Earthquake Safety Fair on June 11th at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. BOMA members are encouraged to attend.

Workshop registration is now open -  each workshop will have 125 seats available. First come, first served. Click the links below to register for our various workshop offerings this year:

11:00 a.m.     Tall Building Safety Strategy Study- What You Need to Know
12:00 p.m.     Changes with the Updated Vacant Commercial Storefront Ordinance
1:00 p.m.       Complying with the Accessible Business Entrance (ABE) Program
2:00 p.m.       Home Remodeling Process Made Stress-Free - Meet the Experts
3:00 p.m.       Making the Best Use of the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) & Unit Legalization

Don't miss your chance to learn from their experts and have your program and emergency preparedness questions answered. Attendees can win FREE emergency go-bag kits filled with emergency essentials.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Updates and Design Feedback for the Civic Center Public Realm Plan

Click on the image for more detail.

BOMA San Francisco Members,

The Civic Center Public Realm Plan team is excited to announce a major update to their website, www.civiccentersf.org. The website now showcases a new design vision for Civic Center’s public spaces. These conceptual designs were first unveiled at a community open house at City Hall on February 27 and reflect nearly two years of planning and community input on future improvements to Civic Center’s public spaces.

The project team invites you to review the designs and share your comments with us via the website’s new online feedback form. Your input will help the team as they work to finalize the draft Civic Center Public Realm Plan over the summer.

Informational presentations on the designs will also be presented at multiple City commissions later this month including: 
  • May 16, 2019: Recreation & Park Commission and Planning Commission; and
  • May 20, 2019: a joint meeting of the Art’s Commission’s Civic Design Review Committee and the Historic Preservation Commission.
If your community group is interested in a presentation on the public realm plan, please contact us at info@civiccentersf.org.