Chapter 17.44


17.44.010    Purpose.

17.44.020    Application requirements.

17.44.030    Procedures.

17.44.040    Standards for condominium conversion.

17.44.050    Tenant provisions.

17.44.060    Effect of proposed conversion on the city’s low- and moderate-income housing supply.

17.44.070    Limitation.

17.44.080    Findings.

17.44.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to:

A. Establish criteria for the conversion of existing multiple-family rental housing to condominiums;

B. Promote the concept of home ownership and bring a greater amount of owner-occupied housing on the market affordable by all economic segments of the community;

C. Ensure that converted housing achieves a high degree of appearance, quality, and safety and is consistent with the goals of the city;

D. Provide a reasonable balance of ownership and rental housing and a variety of choices of tenure, type, price and location of housing;

E. Maintain a supply of rental housing for low-income and moderate-income persons;

F. Reduce the impact of conversion on residents in rental housing who may be required to relocate due to the conversion of apartments to condominiums by providing procedures for notification and adequate time and assistance for such relocation;

G. Assure that purchasers of converted housing have been properly informed as to the physical condition of the structure which is offered for purchase. [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]

17.44.020 Application requirements.

In addition to the other subdivision requirements and procedures, a conversion is subject to the requirements in this chapter. An application for approval of a tentative map for the condominium subdivision shall be accompanied by the following items:

A. Physical Elements Report. A report on the physical element of each structure and facility that shall include but not be limited to the following:

1. A report detailing the structural condition of each element of the property, including foundation, electrical, plumbing, utilities, walls, ceilings, windows, recreational facilities, sound transmission of each building, mechanical equipment, parking facilities, and appliances. Regarding each element, the report shall state, to the best knowledge or estimate of the applicant, when the element was constructed or installed; when the element was last replaced; the approximate date upon which the element will require replacement; the cost of replacing the element; and any variation of the physical condition of the element from the zoning and building code in effect on the date that the last building permit was issued for the structure. The report shall identify each defective or unsafe element and set forth the proposed corrective measures to be employed;

2. A report from a licensed structural pest control operator, approved by the city, on each structure and each unit within the structure;

3. A report on any known soil and geological conditions regarding soil deposits, rock formation, faults, groundwater, and landslides in the vicinity of the project, and a statement regarding any known evidence of soils problems relating to the structure. Reference shall be made to any previous soils report for the site and a copy submitted with the report;

4. A statement of repairs and improvements to be made by the subdivider necessary to refurbish and restore the project to achieve a high degree of appearance and safety.

B. Plot Plan. A plot plan of the project, including the location and sizes of structures, parking layout and access areas, sewer water and storm drains, and any other information required by the planning director or city engineer.

C. CC&Rs. A declaration of covenants, conditions and restrictions which would be recorded and would apply to each owner of a condominium unit within the project. The declaration shall include, but not be limited to, pertinent information regarding the conveyance of units and the assignment of parking; an agreement for common area maintenance, including facilities and landscaping, together with an estimate of any initial assessment fees anticipated for such maintenance; and an indication of appropriate responsibilities for maintenance of all utility lines and services for each unit. The city has the right to review and approve the CC&Rs to ensure that (1) the appropriate conditions of approval are included in them, and (2) those provisions reflecting the city’s conditions may not be amended without city approval.

D. Project Characteristics. Specific information concerning the characteristics of the project, including but not limited to the following:

1. Square footage and number of rooms in each unit;

2. Rental rate history for each type of unit for the previous five years;

3. Monthly vacancy rate for each month during the preceding two years;

4. Makeup of existing tenant households, including family size, length of residence, age of tenants, and whether receiving federal or state rent subsidies;

5. Estimated sales range of units;

6. Proposed homeowner’s association fee;

7. Financing available; and

8. Names and addresses of all tenants.

When the subdivider can demonstrate that this information is not available, this requirement may be modified by the planning director.

E. A signed copy from each tenant of notice of intent to convert as specified in PMC 17.44.050(A), or evidence that a certified letter of notification was sent to each tenant for whom a signed copy of the notice is not submitted. [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]

17.44.030 Procedures.

A. Subdivision Procedures. Under Government Code Section 66426, a condominium conversion is treated as a subdivision subject to the provisions of the State Map Act and this title.

B. Acceptance of Reports. The final form of the physical elements report and other documents required under PMC 17.44.020 shall be as approved by the city. The reports in their accepted form shall remain on file with the planning department for review by the public. They are referred to collectively in this chapter as “the reports.”

C. Copy to Buyers. The subdivider shall provide each purchaser with a copy of the reports (in their final acceptable form), except the information required by PMC 17.44.020(D) and (E) before the purchaser executes an agreement to purchase a unit in the project, and the developer shall give the purchaser sufficient time to review the reports. A copy of the reports shall be made available at all times at the sale office and shall be posted at various locations, as approved by the city, at the project site.

D. Notice to Tenants and Prospective Tenants. Before tentative map approval, the planning commission shall hold a public hearing. In addition to all other notices required by the Subdivision Map Act and this title, the subdivider shall give notice prior to filing the tentative map to prospective tenants and tenants in the manner provided by Government Code Sections 66452.8 and 66452.9 and PMC 17.44.050.

E. Inspection and Fees.

1. The premises to be inspected include structures, common areas, site improvements, public improvements and other related facilities. The purpose of the inspection is to develop a list of deficient conditions that may exist by reason of noncompliance with the municipal code, and to have the deficient items refurbished and restored in accordance with PMC 17.44.040.

2. Before submitting the final map, the owner shall request that an inspection of the premises be made by the community development department for conformance to PMC 17.44.040.

3. a. A project inspection shall be made by the chief of code enforcement, the chief of planning and the city engineer. A deficiency list shall be compiled during the inspection of all corrections required to conform to the requirements of this section, PMC 17.44.040 and other code requirements.

b. When the final inspection is complete, a copy of the deficiency list shall be transmitted to the subdivider.

c. All deficiencies must be corrected to the satisfaction of the city engineer before filing of the final map or parcel map.

d. When plans for corrective work are required, they shall be as approved by the city engineer or his authorized representative before filing of the final map or parcel map.

4. The community development department shall charge a reasonable hourly fee (estimated actual hourly cost to the city) for the inspection and processing. The owner shall post a cash deposit in an amount equal to the estimated cost of inspection. The deposit will be applied towards the inspection fee with any refund or balance due to be resolved before the approval of the final map by the city council. Any balance due shall be paid before recordation of the final map. [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]

17.44.040 Standards for condominium conversion.

The following standards apply to a condominium conversion. These standards must be satisfied, or security provided in a form approved by the city attorney, before the final map is approved.

A. Building Regulations. The project shall conform to the applicable standards of the city building code in effect at the time the last building permit was issued.

B. Fire Prevention.

1. Fire-Warning Systems. Each living unit shall be provided with a fire-warning system conforming to the latest CBC Section 1204 standards in type and locations.

2. Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems. All fire hydrants, fire alarm systems, portable fire extinguishers and other fire protective appliances shall be retained in an operable condition at all times.

C. Sound Transmission.

1. Vibration Transmission. All permanent mechanical equipment (such as motors, compressors, pumps and compactors) which is determined by the building inspector to be a source of structural vibration or structural borne noise shall be vibration isolated with inertia blocks or bases or vibration isolator springs in a manner approved by the building inspector.

2. Noise Standards. The structures shall conform to all interior and exterior sound transmission standards as set forth in the latest CBC Section 1207. Where present standards cannot reasonably be met, the planning commission may require the applicant to notify potential buyers of the noise deficiency currently within the unit.

D. Utility Metering. Each dwelling unit shall be separately metered for gas and electricity.

E. Private Storage Space. Each unit shall have a minimum of 200 cubic feet with no less than 24 square feet of enclosed weatherproofed and lockable private storage space in addition to guest, linen, pantry, and clothes closets customarily provided. The space shall be provided in any location approved by the planning director, but shall not be divided into two or more locations. Where the subdivider can demonstrate that this standard cannot or should not reasonably be met, this standard may be modified by the planning commission.

F. Laundry Facilities. A laundry area shall be provided in each unit unless the planning commission approves a common laundry area. If a common laundry area is provided, it shall consist of not less than one automatic washer and dryer for each five units or fraction thereof. Where the subdivider can demonstrate that this standard cannot or should not reasonably be met, this standard may be modified by the planning commission.

G. Landscape Maintenance. All landscaping shall be restored as necessary or new landscaping shall be installed to achieve a high degree of appearance and quality. Provisions shall be made for continuing maintenance of all landscaped areas.

H. Parking.

1. Off-street parking shall be provided in accordance with the municipal code except that each unit shall have two parking spaces. The city may require more spaces than two per unit if there are a significant number of three-bedroom and four-bedroom units.

2. At least one covered space shall be provided for each unit. Parking is prohibited in the front and street-side setback areas.

3. Where it can be demonstrated that because of the physical limitations of the site, or because there would result a severe loss of amenities due to the provision of required parking, the planning commission may reduce the number of stalls required.

I. Refurbishing and Restoration. Each main building, structure, fence, patio, enclosure, carport, accessory building, sidewalk, driveway, landscaped area and additional element as required by the planning director shall be refurbished and restored as necessary to achieve a high degree of appearance, quality and safety. The refurbishing and restoration is subject to review and approval by the planning director and/or city engineer.

J. Reserves for Capital Maintenance Replacement. Before approval of the final map, the subdivider shall provide to the city engineer evidence of the establishment of a fund in the name of the homeowner’s association. The funds shall be earmarked for long-term reserves for capital and maintenance replacement and shall be equal to two times the estimated monthly assessment for each dwelling unit. [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]

17.44.050 Tenant provisions.

A. Notice of Intent. Beginning at least 60 days before the filing of a tentative map, the subdivider shall give notice of intent to convert to each tenant and prospective tenant as provided in Government Code Section 66452.8 and 66452.9. Evidence of receipt shall be submitted with the tentative map. The form of the notice shall be as approved by the community development director and shall contain not less than the following:

1. The information required by Government Code Sections 66452.8 or 66452.9;

2. Name and address of current owner;

3. Name and address of the proposed subdivider;

4. Approximate date on which the tentative map is proposed to be filed;

5. Approximate date on which the final map or parcel map is to be filed;

6. Approximate date on which the unit is to be vacated by nonpurchasing tenants;

7. Tenant’s right to purchase;

8. Tenant’s right of notification to vacate;

9. Relocation information;

10. Statement of no rent increases;

11. Provision for special cases;

12. Provision of moving expense;

13. Deposit rebate;

14. Remodeling provisions;

15. Other information as deemed necessary by the community development director.

B. Tenant’s Right to Purchase. As provided in Government Code Section 66427.1(a)(2)(F), a present tenant of a unit shall be given a nontransferable right of first refusal to purchase the unit occupied at a price no greater than the price offered to the general public. The right of first refusal shall extend for at least 90 days from the date of issuance of the subdivision public report or beginning of sales, whichever is later.

C. Senior Citizens.

1. A tenant household in residence at the time a completed tentative map application is accepted by the community development department, in which the head of the household or spouse is age 60 or older, is considered a senior citizen tenant and shall be offered a lifetime lease at the time the final map is approved.

2. The annual rent increase for a senior citizen tenant with a lifetime lease may not exceed 75 percent of the latest annual average percentage increase of the residential rent component of the Consumer Price Index – San Francisco-Oakland SMSA (SPI). The senior citizen tenant shall be informed of changes in this index at the time a rent increase is imposed. The starting rent shall be the rent at the time of tentative map application. The lease form shall be submitted to the community development department for review before final map approval.

D. Low- and Moderate-Income Tenants.

1. A tenant household in residence at the time a completed tentative map application has been accepted by the community development department, which meet the limits of the HUD Section 8 program, is considered a low- and moderate-income household and shall be offered, at a minimum, a three-year lease beginning at the time the final map is approved.

2. The annual rent increase for a low- and moderate-income tenant under this subsection shall not exceed 75 percent of the latest annual average percentage increase of the Residential Rent Component of the Consumer Price Index – San Francisco-Oakland SMSA (CPI). A low- and moderate-income tenant shall be informed of the changes in this index at the time an increase is imposed. Starting rent shall be the rent at the time of tentative map application. The lease form shall be submitted to the community development department for review prior to final map approval.

E. Tenant Relocation Plan – Assistance.

1. Relocation and Assistance Plan. The subdivider shall submit a tenant relocation and assistance plan with the tentative map application. The plan shall include the information required under this subsection (E).

2. Vacation of Units.

a. Each nonpurchasing tenant, not in default under the rental agreement or lease under which he occupies his unit, shall have not less than 180 days from the date of receipt of notification from the subdivider of his intent to convert, or from the filing date of the final subdivision map or parcel map, whichever date is later, to find substitute housing and to relocate.

b. A nonpurchasing tenant who: (i) is handicapped, or (ii) has minor children in school, or (iii) is age 60 or older (whether publicly subsidized or not) and does not accept a lifetime lease, living in any unit at the time a completed tentative map application is accepted by the community development department shall be given at least an additional six months after approval of the final map in which to find suitable replacement housing.

3. Other Available Rentals. The subdivider shall provide each tenant not wishing to purchase a unit or not accepting a lifetime or special three-year lease with up-to-date information of available apartments of comparable size and price, and located within a 15-mile radius of the apartment to be converted, and shall provide transportation to assist each elderly or handicapped tenant in finding alternative housing.

4. No Increase in Rents. A tenant’s rent shall not be increased during the period between the filing of the tentative map and the tenant’s relocation or acceptance of a lifetime or special three-year lease, or the denial or withdrawal of the map.

5. Deposits. Each security, cleaning, or other deposit made as a condition of tenancy shall be returned to the tenant before termination of tenancy, unless it is shown that damage has occurred to the unit beyond the scope of repairs or remodeling contemplated in the conversion process, or unless the landlord is otherwise entitled to the deposit.

6. Required Financial Assistance.

a. The subdivider shall provide moving expenses of two times the monthly rent to any tenant household living in a unit at the time a completed tentative map application is accepted by the engineering or planning department.

b. The subdivider shall pay these moving expenses to an eligible tenant within 14 days after he relocates.

c. In the case of a tenant receiving financial assistance under HUD regulations, monthly rent is defined to mean the gross total amount of rent which the subdivider receives, both from the tenant and from the local public agency administering the HUD program.

F. Remodeling. No remodeling, planned as part of the conversion, shall be performed in a unit still occupied by a nonpurchasing tenant, without his written permission. [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]

17.44.060 Effect of proposed conversion on the city’s low- and moderate-income housing supply.

In reviewing an application for conversion of an existing apartment to condominium, the planning commission shall consider the following:

A. Whether or not the amount and impact of the displacement of tenants, if the conversion is approved, would be detrimental to the health, safety or general welfare of the community;

B. Whether or not the existing apartment complex is serving low- and moderate-income households. Standard definitions of low- and moderate-income rents used by the federal and state governments should be used in the evaluation. Along with other factors, the planning commission should consider:

1. The number of families on current waiting lists for assisted rental housing programs that operate in Pittsburg, such as the Section 8, Section 23, and Section 236 programs,

2. The probable income range of tenants living in existing apartments, based on the assumption that households should pay between one-quarter and one-third of their income for housing. That income range will be compared with existing income limits for the Section 8 program to determine whether potential displaced tenants can be categorized as low- and moderate-income;

C. The vacancy rate and turnover rate in multiple-family rental housing in the community, and the extent to which the proposed conversion will create hardships. A conversion may be denied based upon a lack of reasonable alternative housing opportunities;

D. The need and demand for lower-cost home ownership opportunities which are increased by the conversion of apartments to condominiums;

E. The current and historical vacancy rate in the project. In evaluation of the current vacancy level under this subsection, the increase in rental rates for each unit over the preceding five years and the average monthly vacancy rate for the project over the preceding two years shall be considered. If the planning commission determines that vacancies in the project have been increased for the purpose of preparing the project for conversion, it may disapprove the tentative map;

F. Whether or not the conversion will be detrimental to the retention of low and moderate housing stock or reduce or alter significantly the opportunity within the city for the housing of young and elderly citizens. [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]

17.44.070 Limitation.

The maximum number of apartment units which may be approved for condominium conversion in any one calendar year shall be limited to a number established by city council resolution at the beginning of each calendar year. The city shall consider applications on a first-come, first-served basis. If the limit is reached, subsequent applications are carried over to the next calendar year. [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 962 § 2 (Exh. A), 1989.]

17.44.080 Findings.

The planning commission may not approve an application for condominium conversion unless it finds that the proposed conversion:

A. Conforms to the requirements of this chapter;

B. Is consistent with zoning regulations;

C. Will not displace a significant number of low- and moderate-income rental units from the city’s housing stock; and

D. Satisfies the requirements of Government Code Section 66427.1 (regarding notice to tenants). [Ord. 09-1315 § 3 (Exh. A), 2009; Ord. 1059 § 5, 1993; Ord. 962 § 1 (Exh. A), 1989.]