Chapter 15.44


15.44.010    Purpose.

15.44.020    Definitions.

15.44.030    General requirements.

15.44.040    Preapplication requirements.

15.44.050    Application for conversion.

15.44.060    Conditions for approval—Generally.

15.44.070    Conditions for approval—Physical standards.

15.44.080    Conditions for approval—Tenant protection and assistance provisions.

15.44.090    Conditions for approval—Homeownership assistance.

15.44.100    Conditions for approval—Vacancy rate criteria.

15.44.110    Conditions for disapproval.

15.44.120    Certificate of use and occupancy.

15.44.130    Processing fees.

15.44.140    Appeals.

15.44.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is:

A.    To assure compatibility between condominium conversions and the San Pablo housing element of the general plan;

B.    To establish requirements and procedures to be followed for the review and approval or disapproval of condominium conversions;

C.    To reduce the impact of such conversions on residents of rental housing, especially the elderly, the handicapped and families of low to moderate incomes, who may be required to relocate due to the conversion of their rental housing units by providing procedures for adequate time for notification and assistance for such relocation;

D.    To ensure that converted units meet reasonable physical standards as required by all applicable laws, ordinances and regulations;

E.    To ensure that the converted housing achieves a high degree of appearance and quality as is consistent with the goals of the city;

F.    To promote home ownership opportunities and to bring a greater amount of owner-occupied housing on the market affordable by all economic segments of the community. (Ord. 80-07 § 1, 1980)

15.44.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the words set out in this section shall have the following meanings:

A.    “Affordable” means housing selling at a price that is no more than 2.5 times annual household income or at a price and interest rate which result in a monthly mortgage payment, including taxes, insurance, and association fees, not exceeding twenty-eight percent of the buyer’s income, whichever is less; and renting at a monthly rent that does not exceed twenty-five percent of monthly household income.

B.    “Condominium” means an estate in real property consisting of an undivided interest in common in a portion of a parcel of real property together with a separate interest in space in a residential, industrial or commercial building on such real property.

C.    “Conversion” means a proposed change in the type of ownership of a parcel or parcels of land, together with the existing or added structures, some of which were previously occupied, from that established to the type of ownership defined as “condominium” ownership.

D.    “Family” means two or more individuals who by blood, marriage, adoption or mutual consent live together as a family unit.

E.    “Low to moderate income households” means households with annual incomes of less than eighty percent to one hundred and twenty percent of the median income in the San Francisco SMSA as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for its Section 8 Existing Housing Subsidy Program. (Ord. 80-07 § 2, 1980)

15.44.030 General requirements.

A.    The conversion of rental units to condominiums shall conform to all currently applicable laws, ordinances and regulations, including but not limited to those pertaining to housing, building, fire, subdivision and zoning.

B.    The condominium conversion project shall conform to the city of San Pablo general plan.

C.    Notifications for the city council vacancy rate review, the zoning conformance review, planning commission and city council hearings of the tentative map will be mailed by the city to each tenant of the proposed condominium conversion project at least fifteen days prior to the hearings. In addition, the city shall notify all residents within three hundred feet radius of the condominium conversion project area. (Ord. 81-06 (part), 1981; Ord. 80-07 § 3, 1980)

15.44.040 Preapplication requirements.

A.    Generally, apartment units proposed for conversion to condominiums must conform to multifamily residential district (R-3) regulations contained in the city’s zoning ordinance (Chapter 17.32).

B.    At the time of preapplication, the applicant shall be notified of the existing rental vacancy rate for the city of San Pablo. Said rate shall be the rate applicable in the city council’s preapplication vacancy rate criteria review, and shall remain in effect for review of the project application if the application for tentative map is made within ninety days of approval of the preapplication vacancy rate review by the city council with any conditions.

The city council preapplication vacancy rate review shall consist of a review for conformance and compliance of all reports, benefit packages and/or procedures required in Section 15.44.050(F), (G) and (H) and Sections 15.44.080 through 15.44.100.

C.    Zoning Conformance Review.

1.    Prior to the city accepting the filing of a tentative map for a proposed condominium conversion, the development must be reviewed by the planning commission for conformance to zoning ordinance requirements and receive planning commission approval for filing of the tentative map.

2.    Application for planning commission review shall consist of a filing fee and a site development plan showing all existing buildings, parking spaces, open space areas and other aboveground improvements. The application for planning commission review should also indicate any proposed future buildings and other aboveground improvements.

3.    The planning commission, upon completion of said review, shall make one of the following findings:

a.    The project conforms to all applicable zoning ordinance requirements and filing of the tentative map may proceed;

b.    The project does not conform to all applicable zoning ordinance requirements; however, filing of the tentative map may proceed provided the applicant conforms to any and all conditions of approval of the planning commission review;

c.    The project does not conform to zoning ordinance requirements or standards. A tentative map may not be filed until conformance with applicable sections of the city’s zoning ordinance is achieved. (Ord. 81-06 (part), 1981; Ord. 80-07 § 4, 1980)

15.44.050 Application for conversion.

In addition to satisfying all of the other requirements of this chapter, an applicant for a condominium conversion project shall submit the following information at the same time the tentative subdivision map is submitted:

A.    A property report detailing the condition and useful life of the roof, foundation, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural elements of all existing buildings and structures. Such report, prepared by a licensed civil engineer or an architect registered in the state of California, shall also include information pertaining to fire and security provisions, recreational features and facilities, sound transmission of each building, interior common or public areas, landscaping, off-street parking and trash control, and recommendations for the correction and improvement of any noted deficiencies;

A copy of this report shall be furnished to each prospective buyer.

B.    A statement of the repairs and improvements which will be done prior to the sale of the units;

C.    A structural pest report prepared by a licensed structural pest control operator;

D.    A statement certifying that all tenants have been notified in writing of the intent to apply for conversion at least fifteen days prior to the actual submission of tentative map. Notice to the tenants shall be sent by certified mail. Prospective tenants shall also be notified of the application for conversion prior to rental;

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

F.    A demographic and rental structure report detailing specific information concerning the demographic 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 previous five years,

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

4.    Makeup of existing tenant household, including family size, handicapped tenants, length of residence, age of tenants, number of motor vehicles, and whether receiving federal or state rent subsidies,

5.    Proposed sale price of units,

6.    Proposed homeowners’ association fee, and what services the fee covers,

7.    Financing available, and

8.    Names and addresses of all tenants.

When the subdivider can demonstrate that such information is not available, this requirement may be modified;

G.    A written description of all relocation and moving assistance and information to be given to each tenant, and all the steps the subdivider will take to ensure the successful relocation of each tenant, in the event that conversion takes place. The report, to be given to all tenants, should pay particular attention to what assistance will be provided to the elderly, handicapped, large families (five or more) and other tenants who may encounter difficulty finding new quarters. In order to reduce the number of such tenants being displaced, subdivider shall consider incentives and inducements that would permit tenants to become owners in the condominium. Subdivider shall also consider procedures that would allow such hard-to-relocate tenants to stay on as tenants, or to give such tenants additional time after termination of tenancy, due to the conversion, for permanent relocation;

H.    A written description regarding the proposed project organization including the use and control of the common elements and recreation facilities within the project. The statement shall detail any proposed control of common facilities to be retained by the developer, or by the owner, or maintained by a homeowners’ association of unit owners, or any other organization.

The applicant shall also indicate, in writing, that the following items will be included in the covenants, conditions and restrictions:

1.    All directors of the homeowners’ association shall be residents after fifty percent of the units are sold,

2.    The applicant shall not maintain ownership comprising more than twenty percent of the units, nor shall the combined ownership by the applicant and all other nonoccupant owners exceed twenty-five percent, unless a higher percentage is required to comply with Section 15.44.090 C of this chapter,

3.    The covenants, conditions and restrictions shall state that no building permit shall be issued by the city without prior approval of the homeowners’ association,

4.    A maintenance plan which clearly specifies methods and standards for performance of common responsibilities and maintenance for all common areas, including any common refuse collection responsibilities or assurances that the premises will be kept free from trash and debris, and the equipment and fees to be assessed for such purposes. The maintenance plan shall include a sinking fund for major repairs and extraordinary expenses,

5.    A provision that an individual owner cannot avoid liability for his prorated share of the expenses for the common area by renouncing his rights in the common area,

6.    The homeowners’ association shall keep the city informed of its officers, addresses and telephone numbers,

7.    Provisions, in the form of a deed restriction, for the maintenance of affordable units in compliance with Sections 15.44.090 D and 15.44.100 of this chapter. (Ord. 81-06 (part), 1981; Ord. 80-07 § 5, 1980)

15.44.060 Conditions for approval—Generally.

Approval of tentative and final subdivision maps, or of tentative parcel and parcel maps, shall be conditional upon the satisfaction of the requirements set out in Sections 15.44.070 through 15.44.100. All provisions in Sections 15.44.070 through 15.44.100 must be met and violations corrected prior to the approval of the final map. Funds shall be adequately escrowed or bonded to assure the completion of such benefits, corrective work, and/or improvements prior to the closing of escrow of any unit in the project. Unmet and modified items and standards in Sections 15.44.070 through 15.44.100 shall be disclosed to prospective buyers. (Ord. 80-07 § 6 (part), 1980)

15.44.070 Conditions for approval—Physical standards.

A.    All buildings and individual units shall conform to all applicable state and local housing, structural, safety and utility codes; all violations cited shall be corrected and all units shall be certified for occupancy. Towards this end, the applicant shall arrange for a detailed preconversion inspection, at its expense, of the subject property. The preconversion inspection shall be performed by the chief building inspector.

B.    Electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems shall be in conformance with the applicable codes. Each living unit shall be provided with approved smoke detectors installed in conformance with the UBC. When required by the UBC, fire alarm systems shall be installed. If a fire alarm system exists, it shall be in good operating condition.

C.    Where buildings have accessible attic space, said attics shall be insulated to a minimum R-19 value. Where heating ducts occur in unconditioned space, said ducts shall be insulated. In addition to these energy conservation features, all doors and windows shall be weatherstripped or suitably insulated, and in cases where appliances are replaced, appliances that are of low energy design shall be required.

D.    All separating partitions (walls and floors) shall have a minimum sound transmission class of 45 when determined by laboratory tests or a minimum sound transmission class of 40 when determined by a field test.

E.    Each converted unit shall be separately metered for gas and electricity. A plan for equitable sharing of water metering shall be developed prior to filing the final map and shall be incorporated into the covenants, conditions and restrictions. In such cases where the applicant can demonstrate that this standard cannot or should not be reasonably met, this standard may be modified by the planning commission upon the approval and recommendation of the city chief building official.

F.    The project shall conform to the standards of the city building security regulations Chapter 15.40, as amended.

G.    At least one hundred and fifty cubic feet per unit of enclosed weatherproofed and lockable storage space shall be provided in addition to that ordinarily contained within each unit. It may either be located within or exterior to the unit. In such cases where the applicant can demonstrate that this standard cannot or should not be reasonably met, this standard may be modified by the planning commission.

H.    Laundry facilities shall be provided in each unit, or if common laundry areas are provided, such facilities shall consist of not less than one automatic washer and dryer for each five units or fraction thereof. In such cases where the applicant can demonstrate that this standard cannot or should not be reasonably met, this standard may be modified by the planning commission.

I.    All landscaping shall be restored as necessary and maintained to achieve a high degree of appearance and quality. The homeowners’ association shall be required to enter into a landscape maintenance contract with the city.

J.    The applicant shall provide written certification to the buyer of each unit at the close of escrow that any dishwashers, garbage disposals, stoves, refrigerators, hot water tanks that are provided are in operating condition as of the close of escrow. At such a time as the homeowners’ association takes over the management of the development, the applicant shall provide a one year warranty to the association that all commonly owned equipment and appliances are in good, operable working condition.

K.    There shall be at least one and one-half parking spaces for each studio and one bedroom unit and at least two parking spaces for each unit with two or more bedrooms, except in cases where the applicant can demonstrate that this standard cannot or should not be reasonably met this standard may be modified by the planning commission.

L.    Design review by the planning commission and redevelopment agency, where applicable, shall be required of all projects proposed for conversion to condominiums. (Ord. 80-07 § 6 (part), 1980)

15.44.080 Conditions for approval—Tenant protection and assistance provisions.

A.    The applicant shall provide each tenant, via certified mail with return receipt requested, a notice of intention to convert. Such notice shall be mailed to each tenant at least sixty days prior to the filing of the tentative map, and shall state the following:

1.    That each tenant has an exclusive right to contract for the purchase of the dwelling unit occupied by the tenant or other unit in the development upon the same or more favorable terms and conditions than those on which such unit will be initially offered to the general public. The right shall run for a period of not less than ninety days from the date of issuance of the subdivision public report or commencement of sales, whichever is later, unless the applicant receives prior written notice of the tenant’s intention not to exercise the right. The tenant’s right to purchase shall be nontransferable;

2.    That each tenant, subject to the terms of his/her lease/rent agreement, has a right of occupancy of at least one hundred and twenty days after being given written notice of intention to convert, or at least sixty days after the filing of the final subdivision or parcel map, or until the expiration of tenant’s lease, whichever is longer, prior to termination of tenancy due to condominium conversion;

Any nonpurchasing tenant who is over the age of sixty-two, handicapped or other tenants with demonstrated problems, such as students wanting to complete a school term or families with several minor children, will be given an additional six months in which to find suitable replacement housing;

3.    That a tenant’s rent shall not be increased for one year from the time of the filing of the tentative map until relocation takes place, or until the subdivision is denied or withdrawn;

4.    That the subdivider shall provide moving expenses of one and one-half times the monthly rent plus the difference between the current and new security deposit, to any tenant who relocates from the building to be converted after receipt of notification from the applicant of his intention to convert, except when the tenant has given notice of his intention to move prior to receipt of notification from the applicant of his intention to convert. Any security deposit made by the tenant shall be refunded immediately upon vacation of the rental unit, unless the full amount of the new security deposit was made to the tenant by the applicant prior to vacation of the unit.

B.    In addition to the moving expenses conditions outlined in subsection (A)(4) of this section, applicant shall file a report describing all relocation assistance services to be provided by the applicant. Such services shall include, but are not limited to:

1.    Up-to-date information on comparable apartments within the city of San Pablo and the surrounding areas;

2.    Transportation assistance, in and around the East Bay Area of the San Francisco—Oakland Metropolitan Statistical Area, to tenants in finding alternate housing.

C.    After the filing of the tentative map, any prospective tenant shall be notified in writing of the intent to convert prior to leasing or renting any unit. Such notice may state that he/she is not entitled to assistance provisions outlined in this chapter. (Ord. 81-06 (part), 1981; Ord. 80-07 § 6 (part), 1980)

15.44.090 Conditions for approval—Homeownership assistance.

In addition to the tenant’s right for first refusal, (Section 15.44.080 (A)(1)), applicant shall submit proposals to facilitate homeownership by tenants. The proposals shall include, but are not limited to:

A.    Discounts to tenants;

B.    Downpayment assistance and settlement costs grants;

C.    For tenants who are elderly and/or handicapped, the offering of the units at "affordable" terms (see Section 15.44.020), or lifetime leases with the initial rent not to exceed the current rent, with the stipulation that the rent may be increased annually, but not to exceed the housing component of the Consumer Price Index (CPI);

D.    At least twenty percent of all units converted shall be affordable and sold to low and moderate income buyers with city-approved and accepted resale restrictions to guarantee that the unit will remain affordable to, and be purchased by, low and moderate income buyers for fifty-nine years following the first sale of the unit(s). Ownership assistance provided in subsection C of this section shall count towards the fulfillment of this item. (Ord. 81-06 (part), 1981; Ord. 80-07 § 6 (part), 1980)

15.44.100 Conditions for approval—Vacancy rate criteria.

It is the intent of the city council, as expressed in the city housing element, that a proposed condominium conversion project will not adversely affect the provision of adequate housing for all segments of the community and that adequate replacement housing for displaced tenants is available. The vacancy rate to be considered in evaluating the adequacy of replacement housing shall be the current rental vacancy factor for the city as determined by vacancy rate surveys by the city. In the event that the rental vacancy rate falls below five percent, the city may deny approval of the condominium conversion project proposal if the city finds that the conversion will significantly reduce the availability of rental units and therefore, the conversion will conflict with the goals and policies contained in the housing element of the general plan. If the rental vacancy rate is found to be below three percent, the application for conversion shall be denied, unless the applicant, for a period of fifty-nine years as outlined in Sections 15.44.050 (H)(7) and 15.44.090 (D), agrees to sell and provide for the maintenance of, at affordable prices, forty percent of the units to low and moderate income households, with a minimum of twenty percent being affordable to households earning less than eighty percent of the San Francisco SMSA median income; provided, that the city council may still deny approval of the application if the proposed condominium conversion project is found to adversely affect the provision of adequate housing for all segments of the community and that adequate replacement housing for displaced tenants is unavailable. In the event that the applicant disagrees with the vacancy rate findings, he may order, at his own expense, another vacancy rate survey to be conducted by the city. (Ord. 81-06 (part), 1981; Ord. 80-07 § 6 (part), 1980)

15.44.110 Conditions for disapproval.

The city shall not approve an application for condominium conversion unless the city finds that:

A.    All provisions of this chapter are met; and

B.    The proposed conversion is consistent with the city of San Pablo general plan; and

C.    The overall design and physical condition of the condominium conversion achieves a high degree of appearance, quality, and safety; and

D.    The proposed conversion will not displace a significant percentage of low and moderate income or senior citizen tenants and delete a significant number of low and moderate income rental units from the city’s housing stock at a time when no equivalent housing is readily available in the city of San Pablo area. (Ord. 80-07 § 7, 1980)

15.44.120 Certificate of use and occupancy.

The certificate of use and occupancy shall be issued by the city after completion of construction if all required improvements and conditions of the tentative and final maps are met. (Ord. 81-06 (part), 1981)

15.44.130 Processing fees.

Processing fees applicable to condominium conversion proposals shall be established by resolution. (Ord. 81-06 (part), 1981; Ord. 80-07 § 9, 1980)

15.44.140 Appeals.

A.    Any person aggrieved by any interpretation, decision or action taken by the planning commission may appeal such action to the city council.

B.    Appeals shall be addressed to the city council on a prescribed form and shall clearly state the basis of the appeal. Appeals shall be filed with the city clerk within fifteen days following the date of the action from which an appeal is taken.

C.    The city clerk shall set the date of the public hearing within thirty days of the filing of the appeal. Notice of the time and place shall be given by publication in a legal newspaper at least ten days before the hearing, and by posting said notice in a conspicuous place on the subject property ten days prior to said hearing, or by notice through the United States mail, with postage prepaid, to the applicant and person so appealing.

D.    The city council shall render its decision within ten days following the conclusion of the hearing of such appeal.

E.    Failure of the city council to act within the time specified shall be deemed concurrence with the previous decision rendered.

F.    The city council may impose or prescribe conditions in its determination as are, in its opinion, necessary to serve, and which are consistent with the objectives of this chapter. (Ord. 81-06 (part), 1981; Ord. 80-07 § 10, 1980)