The San Francisco supervisors are scheduled to review a proposal that would require owners of soft story buildings to retrofit them by 2020. The proposed plan will require about 3,000 buildings in San Francisco, built before 1978 to undergo seismic retrofits in the next several years. Single family homes and smaller buildings will be exempt from this plan. During the city's voluntary retrofit period, the least expensive project was $8,000 and the most expensive was $5 million as reported by the San Francisco Public Press. They estimate that the cost per dwelling unit will be $10,000 to $20,000 and for a four unit building, the costs will be $60,000 to $80,000. There has been opposition from building owners and tenants, concerned about who will pay for these retrofits (and if costs will be passed through to tenants).
Given the likelihood that we will experience The Big One at some time in the future, it seems like a no-brainer that property owners do what they can to ensure the safety of city residents. In addition to personal safety, many would be adversely affected by the loss of equity if their property is destroyed. And, in addition to these two factors, it seems that very few San Francisco property owners have insurance coverage for earthquakes. Stay tuned to see how the Supes handle this one.