Archive for the ‘housing’ Category

Wow, a Master Tenant Tells KQED He Rents Out Room for More Than Allowed by Rent Control – WTF? Plus, a Simple Solution

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

All right here we go:

In San Francisco, Rooms for $1,000/Month Are Now Scarce - Sam Harnett | April 2, 2014

“Brian Harrigan is on the other side of the equation. He is on the lease of an iconic four-bedroom Victorian in the Lower Haight. He could probably rent the rooms out for as much as $1,500 each, but he doesn’t want to be greedy. At the same time, he said, ‘If I was to rent it out at like $500 I would have hundreds of emails. You would get everyone applying for it, and it wouldn’t be manageable.’ Harrigan recently had a room open up in the apartment and he decided to put it up at $1,000 — about double the rent-controlled rate and $500 below what he could have charged. Even with the inflated price, he received about 50 applications for the one room.”

What what what – the rent for the room is “about double the rent-controlled rate?”

Non non non! You can’t do it that way in SF.

Here are the three rules, IIRC:

1. Total rent paid by the subtenants may not exceed the rent paid by the master tenant to the landlord.

2. Rent paid by subtenants to the master must be proportional to the total rent – so if the rent controlled rate is for a two-bedroom is $1000 per month to the landlord and the master and sub each share 50-50 (like the rooms and everything else are identical) then the rent charged to the sub should be $500, or close enough to $500.

3. The rent paid by the master to the landlord shall be disclosed in writing to the sub before the sub moves in in the first place.

Those are the rules – live it love it learn it.

Now, can a subtenant get back money from the master if the rent charged is deemed to be disproportionate? Hell yes, going back years.

So is it wise to tell KQED how you set the rate for a room in rent-controlled San Francisco if you’re not sure you’re doin it right? No.

So what should master tenants do then? ‘Cause if you advertise a room for $400 a month on craigslist the world will beat a path to your door, right?

Here’s what you do, you figure what the rent should be for a room but you keep it a secret at first. Then you advertise the room at a market rate, $1400, whatever – and that will cut down on the riff-raff, that will avoid a 50-person beauty contest from every state in the nation, right? And then after you pick somebody to be your new roomie, then comes The Reveal, which is actually the rent is only $400 a month are you cool with that. And it will be, I guarantee it.

What’s that, this strategy isn’t for you because ____? Well all right, have it your way. But just make sure* you split the rent proportionally, that’s what I’m saying.

*Heavy is the head what wears the master tenant crown, right? Of course, there are pros and cons to being a master tenant in rent controlled SF – it’s not for everyone. 

Homeless People Have Already Moved In at the 8 Octavia Construction Site

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

They’ve been here for a while. The construction crew is cool with it, but this arrangement can’t last much longer:

Click to expand

Here’s the spiel for this brand new building, and they mention the names of many many local bidnesses and institutions, for some reason:

Absinthe
Arlequin To Go
Bar Jules
Cafe Altano
Cafe Corbas
Christopher Elbow Chocolates
Domo
Fatted Calf
Charcuterie
Frjtz

They go on and on…

More after the jump.

(more…)

San Francisco Residential Architecture 2014: (Expensive) Little Boxes on the Hillside, (Expensive) Little Boxes Made of Ticky Tacky

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.

See?

Click to expand

There’s a green one and a pink one 
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Not that I’m complaining or nothing.

Hey AVA Building on 9th Street! Meet Your Neighbors: “HOTEL PHILLIPS – ROOMS AVAILABLE – DAILY AND WEEKLY RATES”

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Ian S goes longform:

This is the worst “hotel” that I’ve ever seen. Humanity has reached new lows here. As you walk down the halls, you see drunk / high people tumbling out of their rooms, reaching in every direction, screaming, and doing hard drugs in plane site. The sounds in this hotel are hellish — think Abu Ghraib — as you pass through, it sounds like people are being raped in every room — with screams/pleas for help coming from every direction — there are also children crying, dogs barking, yelling, and very loud music at all times of the day/night. Some guests were very violent; one huge/intimidating guy starting yelling at me — and I honestly feared for my physical well being.  People walk their dogs throughout the interior, and I even saw a dog urinating on the hallway carpet. There are dead cockroaches everywhere. Bathrooms are communal. The rooms and hallways smell like a bizarre mixture of hard drugs and chemicals. 

No one in their right might should stay here, and no right-minded person does.  As for the homeless and insane: I suggest you try a park or the sidewalk. This is an horrifyingly dreadful place — like the worst parts of ‘Requiem for a Dream’ or ‘The Wire’. 

And assorted  allegations here

Real-Life Carl Fredricksen: This Homeowner on Oak Street Looks Like the Star of Pixar’s “Up” Film

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Click to expand

CW Nevius, Unpaid Spokesperson for SFGov, Weighs In, Once Again, on Twitter Not Paying Its Taxes – “The Twitter Miracle”

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Chuck is at it once again. At first I thought he was doing a kind of “Day Without  a Mexican” thought exercise, but now I don’t think so. Does he think Twitter will break its lease? The mind boggles.

So here’s a question for the people who keep shouting that tech workers and their money are ruining San Francisco.

ALL RIGHT, WHAT”S THE SIZE OF THE AUDIENCE YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT, NEVIUS? HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE EVER SHOUTED ABOUT THIS TOPIC? IDK, A COUPLE HUNDRED? AND THEN HOW MANY PEOPLE “KEEP” DOING IT? THAT NUMBER’S GOT TO BE LESS, RIGHT? THAT’S A PRETTY SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE TO QUERY, ISN’T IT, NEVIUS?  

What if it all works out just as you’d like? The tech companies decide it isn’t worth the trouble to try to run a business in San Francisco. The workers say they are tired of being hassled and mocked in the neighborhoods where they live.

DO PEOPLE REALLY MOVE FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER BECAUSE THEY’VE BEEN “MOCKED?” NO, SIMPLY. THE ONLY PERSON I CAN THINK OF WHO’S DONE SO IS YOU YOURSELF, NEVIUS. AND ACTUALLY, YOU MOVED _TO_ SF AFTER GETTING MOCKED FOR NOT KNOWING A WHOLE BUNCH ABOUT SF, FOR NOT LIVING IN THE TOWN YOU COVER. AND THEN YOU MOVED HERE A COUPLE YEARS AGO AND NOW, EFFORTLESSLY, YOU KNOW MORE ABOUT YOUR BEAT. JUST BY LIVING HERE. I’M SURE YOU’LL AGREE WITH THAT, NEVE. ANYWAY, IF ANY INDIVIDUAL TECH WORKER MOVED OUT, NOBODY WOULD CARE.

But there’s also Berkeley. And Oakland.

BUT WOULDN’T TECH WORKERS GET MOCKED IN BERKELEY AND OAKLAND TOO? I THINK THEY WOULD.

Suppose the “Twitter Miracle” on Mid-Market dries up.

IS THIS A PHRASE NOW, THE “TWITTER MIRACLE?” I DON’T THINK SO. THE ONLY REFERENCE I CAN FIND IS A SARCASTIC ONE ON MISSION LOCAL. SO OF COURSE I’M QUOTING YOU, BUT WHO ARE YOU QUOTING, NEVE? YOURSELF? OK FINE. BUT WHY IS TWITTER MOVING FROM 4TH AND FOLSOM TO 10TH AND MARKET A MIRACLE, WHICH OF COURSE IS “an event not ascribable to human power or the laws of nature and consequently attributed to a supernatural, especially divine, agency.” BUT IRL, TWITTER MOVED TO THAT LOCATION DUE TO POLITICS, DUE TO GAVIN NEWSOM WANTING TO BECOME US PRESIDENT, CA GOVERNOR, CA LT GOVERNOR. THAT WAS NOT DIVINE INTERVENTION, NEVE.

Of course, part of the reason they came in the first place was that the city offered them a nice tax break for six years.

THAT’S THE STORY, BUT IT’S NOT REALLY PROVABLE. WE SIMPLY DON’T KNOW WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT THE SUBSIDY. BEFORE TWITTER, WE HAD CORPORATE WELFARE FOR BIG PHARMA. THIS WAS A BIT BEFORE YOUR TIME HERE IN SF, NEVE. IT WAS THE “GENENTECH MIRACLE.” IT DIDN’T WORK OUT.

But now, entering the third full year, the companies are likely to take a hard look at how things are working out.

THINGS WORKED OUT GREAT FOR TWITTER, RIGHT? THEY HAD THEIR IPO AND THEY DIDN’T HAVE TO PAY THE PAYROLL TAX SIGNED INTO LAW BY GAVIN NEWSOM(!) BACK IN 2004; BUT IF TWITTER LEAVES TOWN, WHAT’S THE HARM IN THAT?

What if the companies say: You know, part of the reason we located here was because we thought our employees would love the city and quality of life. But now we’ve been turned into ideological punching bags.

CAN YOU CITE AN EXAMPLE OF SOME FRAGILE SOUL MOVING OUT OF SF FOR THIS REASON? I DON’T THINK YOU CAN.

Our firms are criticized for not doing enough in the community, despite hefty donations. (Twitter, to pick an example, has pledged $388,000 to Tenderloin schools and charities.)

THIS IS ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE LESS THAN WHAT THEY SHOULD HAVE PAID IN TAXES TO THE GENERAL FUND. DO YOU GET THIS NEVE? MOST BIG COMPANIES PAY THEIR TAXES _AND_ DO CHARITY

And our employees are being mocked, hassled and trash-talked. It’s unpleasant. They don’t like it.

CITATION? EXAMPLE? HEY NEVIUS! DIDN’T YOU JUST GET THROUGH MOCKING DANIELLE STEEL? WHAT IF SHE MOVES TO FRANCE FULL-TIME?

Efforts are being made to find ways to keep families and blue-collar workers here. 

NICE USE OF PASSIVE VOICE THERE, NEVE. LET’S LET YOUR BUDDIES IN SFGOV KEEP ON KEEPING ON. ALL IS CALM, ALL IS BRIGHT.

1049 Market Street Tenants Win a Reprieve in Their Mass Eviction – Presser at City Hall Today at 4:30 PM

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Word comes from tommi avicolli mecca:

“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

1049 Market STREET Tenants Win a Reprieve in Their Mass Eviction

San Francisco – Tenants of 1049 Market, who are facing eviction at the hands of a landlord wanting to turn their live/work apartments into office spaces, will be holding a press conference today at 4:30pm on the steps of City Hall (Polk Street side) to announce that they have won another reprieve in their battle to stay in their homes. Their landlord has withdrawn his appeal of the suspension of THE permit that would have allowed him to demolish their apartments and evict them.

The appeal on that suspension was scheduled to be heard today at the Board of Appeals at 5pm.

Officials of the Department of Building Inspections (DBI) suspended the permit after a walk through of the building. DBI officials DETERMINED that they had discretion in requiring the landlord to install light wells, a very expensive renovation, to fix a major code violation cited in a 2007 Notice of Violation: the lack of natural light in some of the apartments. Other violations are minor and can be easily addressed by the owner.

Tenants received eviction notices last September, but with the help of Housing Rights Committee, legal support from Tenderloin Housing Clinic and the involvement of Supervisor Jane Kim and DBI, they organized to stay in their homes and fight back.

“It’s a clear victory for us tenants,” said 1049 Market resident Marcele Wilson, “This is about evicting working-class tenants and artists so that they can convert our apartments into offices and cash in on the mid-Market tech boom. But these are our homes, we’re not leaving.”

Tenants will be on hand for interviews today at 4:30pm.”

Oh, It’s On! “Renters’ Day of Action” Hits Sacramento Feb 18th, 2014 – “Reform the Ellis Act!”

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Well, here you go:

Renters’ Day of Action

March & Rally

Sacramento, CA
February 18, 2014 at 9:30am

Across the state, renters face unfair evictions by real estate speculators, rising rents, and slumlords that won’t make repairs. Now more than ever, renters need relief.

On February 18, 2014, renters and allies will unite in Sacramento for a march on the Capitol to demand a fair shake for California renters.

Our Demands:

End Evictions by Speculators – Reform the Ellis Act!
Thousands of tenants are being displaced by real estate speculators. Give cities the tools they need to protect residents from eviction.

Create Affordable Housing – Homes & Jobs!
Build safe and affordable rental homes for Californians in need.

Relief for Renters – Reinstate the renters’ rebate!
Five years ago, Schwarzenegger vetoed funds for the renters’ rebate. The funds must be restored.

Take action!

1) Register to join us!

2) Find or reserve transportation!

3) Spread the word! Download a flyer here (bilingual English/Spanish).

Uh Oh, Now There’s ANOTHER Lawsuit Against the City: Small Property Owners vs. the “Nonconforming Unit Ordinance”

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Man, San Francisco sure seems to be getting sued a lot by property owners a lot these days.

Get used to it, 2014′s going to be a bumpy ride.

To wit:

“January 29, 2014 

SMALL PROPERTY OWNERS OF SAN FRANCISCO FILE LAWSUIT TO BLOCK LAW

New Ordinance Would Discriminate Against Families Who Move Into Their Own Buildings 

SAN FRANCISCO, Tuesday, January 28, 2014 – Today, the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute filed a lawsuit challenging Supervisor John Avalos’ Nonconforming Unit Ordinance on the grounds that the ordinance violates state law and fails to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

The Nonconforming Unit Ordinance would legalize the practice of renovating and expanding “nonconforming units.” Nonconforming units are “grandfathered” residential units that exceed local zoning laws’ density limits. Controversially, the ordinance would also discriminate against nonconforming units that have been the subject of lawful “no-fault” evictions, which are allowed under state and local law. Such units would be denied building permits for up to 10 years following a lawful eviction – even for regular maintenance and minor repairs. Property owners would also be barred from rebuilding their units after a fire or earthquake.

“This legislation punishes families who move into their own buildings,” stated Noni Richen, president of the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute (SPOSFI). “It could cause thousands of lawful housing units to sit vacant while the City denies permits for basic upkeep. Given the current housing shortage, this is unconscionable.”

“As we have shown again and again, we will not allow the City to violate property rights with these illegal schemes,” stated Andrew M. Zacks, SPOSFI’s attorney. “The state’s Ellis Act prohibits this kind of discrimination against lawful evictions. Moreover, cities are required to evaluate a new ordinance’s environmental impacts under CEQA. This legislation was rushed through without proper review.”

Nonconforming units are different from “in-law” units, which are generally unpermitted and illegal. For example, a permitted third unit on a parcel zoned for two units is considered a nonconforming unit. The City Planning Department’s Information and Analysis Group estimates that approximately 52,000 units in the city are nonconforming, comprising some 14% of the city’s housing stock.

A copy of the Nonconforming Unit Ordinance is available at http://zulpc.com/small-property-owners-file-suit-to-block-discriminatory-law/.

The Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute (“SPOSFI”) is a California nonprofit corporation. SPOSFI advocates for the Small Property Owners of San Francisco, a nonprofit organization that works to promote and preserve home ownership in San Francisco. Its focus is to protect the rights of small property owners and foster opportunities for first-time home buyers. SPOSFI members range from young families to the elderly on fixed incomes, and its membership cuts across all racial, ethnic, and socio-economic strata. Its members include San Francisco residents who own nonconforming residential units in San Francisco.

Zacks & Freedman, P.C. is a law firm dedicated to advocating for the rights of property owners. With experience and knowledge in rent control issues, zoning, permitting, transactional disputes and other real estate matters, Zacks & Freedman, P.C. has successfully advocated its clients’ positions before local administrative tribunals and at all levels of the State and Federal courts.

Uh Oh, Now There’s a Lawsuit Against the City for Recent Ellis Act Legislation – SFAA & realtors Fighting Us

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Read it and weep, San Francisco. We’re getting sued:

“For Immediate Release, January 29, 2014:

San Francisco Housing Associations File Lawsuit to Block Anti-Family Legislation

San Francisco – On Tuesday January 28, 2014, the San Francisco Apartment Association, Coalition for Better Housing and the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of legislation known as the Avalos Ellis Act and Merger Prohibition Legislation.

 The legislation was passed by the Board of Supervisors and signed into law by Mayor Ed Lee in violation of building owners’ rights under the state law known as the Ellis Act.

 The legislation prohibits owners of multi-unit buildings from combining units in a building for ten years following an Ellis Act eviction or for five years following an owner-move in eviction.

 On a practical level, the legislation prevents families who own a building from creating a home that meets their needs. For example, the legislation prevents a family from combining two small units into a larger one to provide a home for a growing family. Couples with young children often find themselves in need of additional space they did not anticipate when they purchased a rental building, yet the legislation punishes them.

 Only 2 percent of new housing built in San Francisco since 2001 are single-family homes that provide adequate space for families, often with multiple generations living together. Lack of adequate housing to meet the needs of families has contributed San Francisco losing 5,278 people younger than 18 between 2000 and 2010, according to the census.

 “The San Francisco Association of REALTORS® supports the rights of private property owners for the free use of their property as their needs suit them.  This legislation only exacerbates the problems families face in finding adequate housing and drives out the families that have created the diversity we want and celebrate in our city,” said Walt Baczkowski, CEO of the San Francisco Association of Realtors.

 Because so few single family homes are being constructed, families rely on improving buildings they own, including tenancies in common to add living space. This legislation prohibits them from creating the home they need in a building they own.

 “Families are fleeing San Francisco due to a multitude of reasons that include a lack of adequate space for growing families that often include multiple generations. This legislation exacerbates that problem by punishing and limiting options for families who simply seek to create a home that meets the needs of their family,” stated Janan New, Executive Director of the San Francisco Apartment Association. “This legislation punishes hard working families, while doing little to protect renters.”

 The lawsuit states that the legislation is pre-empted by state law known as the Ellis Act, which allows building owners to take a building off the rental market and convert those units to condominiums or single -family homes. Under the law, building owners are already required to give occupants up to one year advance notice and provide relocation fees of $5,210 per tenant, up to a maximum of $15,632, plus $3,473 additional for tenants who are senior or disabled.

 “My clients are seeking relief from this just-passed legislation which unfairly takes away the right of individuals and families who simply want to create a home for themselves and their family in a building they own,” stated Jim Parrinello, attorney for the plaintiffs.