Tobener Ravenscroft

Firm News

Mayor’s ‘short term’ elevator repairs a long time coming

Representing 24 public housing residents at Clementina Towers, Jackie Ravenscroft, of tenants rights law firm Tobener Ravenscroft, descries the deplorable conditions these seniors and disabled clients have endured. Their upcoming lawsuit against the city of San Francisco cites elder abuse and violations of the federal Fair Housing Act. San Francisco Chronicle Sept. 7, 2014 by Heather Knight

Landlord Retracts Outrageous Demands After Letter Goes Viral

Tenant rights attorney Jackie Ravenscroft is cited to explain the legalities when one S.F. landlord requires tenants to meet a certain income level. Causing a public outcry, the landlord of a rent-controlled building in the Lower Haight area notified his tenants they must provide proof of $100,000 annual income or move out. That, Ravenscroft says, is illegal, although a landlord can make a similar demand of prospective tenants. Huffington Post May 8, 2014 by Lydia O’Connor

One Startup Wants To Speed Buyouts In San Francisco’s Rent-controlled Units

Tenant rights attorney Joseph Tobener comments about the pitfalls of buyouts offered by landlords for rent-controlled units. Middleman services like RentMasters can be used by owners to negotiate buyout agreements, but Tobener is wary that such agreements may put tenants at risk. He says buyouts can be “extremely legally complex,” and client interests are better served with legal representation. Moreover, at rish tenants such as the elderly and those with mental illness may be easily manipulated. With more than 70… Read More »

San Francisco residents to vote on contentious Prop. F

Tenant lawyer Joseph Tobener comments on the benefits of Proposition F, commonly called the Airbnb initiative. Representing the San Francisco Tenants Union, Tobener says short-term rental services like Airbnb have been breaking city rental laws with impunity. The proposition, heavily opposed by Airbnb, suggested limiting the number of nights a unit can be rented to 75 per year and required quarterly reports to the SF Planning Department on how units are used. L.A. Times Nov. 1, 2015 by Tracey Lien

Where S.F. Housing Authority stands 2 years after hitting bottom

Tobener Ravenscroft, a tenants law firm, challenges the city’s Housing Authority to meet standard living conditions at Clementina Towers in the South of Market area. Partner Jacqueline Ravenscroft represents two dozen tenants who have for years endured sub-standard conditions that include cockroach infestation, broken elevators and insufficient security measures. Even though new Housing Authority leadership since 2013 has earned praise for making some progress, tenant advocates say much more still needs to be done on behalf of residents. San Francisco… Read More »

S.F. Fails To Follow Up After Evictions

Tenant lawyer Joseph Tobener, of Tobener Ravenscroft LLP, explains why San Francisco city agencies rarely track what happens to buildings after evictions. His client brought suit after discovering from her former neighbors that the landlord illegally converted her three-unit building into condominiums and rented her former unit on Airbnb. Tobener notes that wrongful eviction suits, if upheld, net the displaced tenant “triple damages,” plus attorney’s fees. Damages are calculated by the court based on loss of rent control. San Francisco… Read More »

When Mrs. Doubtfire Won’t Leave

San Francisco tenant lawyer Joseph Tobener comments about the California couple whose nanny refuses to leave their home. With an agreement to care for the couple’s three children in exchange for room and board, the nanny reputedly reneged on her commitment but continued living in the family’s home. Not only must the family wait for due process to take place (which prevents them from evicting her), but Tobener says arrangements like these can unwittingly violate minimum-wage laws. The Daily Beast… Read More »

Airbnb blurs lines between visitors, tenants

San Francisco tenant lawyer Joseph Tobener represents long-term Airbnb renter after eviction. The case tests what tenant protections mean for clients of the vacation rental system. Tobener maintains his client’s 75-day stay entitles her to coverage under the city’s strict tenant protection laws: In single-family homes, like the one in which she lived, protections kick in after 32 days of continuous occupancy. San Francisco Chronicle June 7, 2014 by Carolyn Said

Lower Haight Landlord Won’t Let You In Bed For Less Than $100,000

Tenant rights lawyer Joseph Tobener comments on a landlord’s outrageous demand that his tenants provide proof of a minimum $100,000 income and a FICO score of 725. Tobener says existing tenants of the rent-controlled building are under no obligation to divulge financial information under state or San Francisco law. Additionally, this condition for rental is unreasonable since the median household income in the city us $74,000, and the average credit score about 680. sfist May 5, 2014 by Eve Batey

San Francisco sues landlords who evicted tenants for Airbnb

S.F. tenant rights attorney Joseph Tobener represents San Francisco Tenants Union in suing multiple landlords accused of evicting tenants to rent out rooms on websites like Airbnb, VRBO.com and Homeaway. The predatory practice displaces longtime legal renters from their homes to list their space online for as much as $600 a night. The practice is illegal for multiple reasons, Tobener says, including San Francisco law, which prohibits rentals of less than 30 days. Reuters April 23, 2014 by Gerry Shih

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