Archive for the ‘housing’ Category

Hey Look! DDG Partners and DM DEVELOPMENT Team Up to Evict the Homeless Encampment at the New 8 Octavia Condo Building

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

[UPDATE: At least one person has moved back in, as of May Day 2014.]

Here’s your before, at the corner of Market Street and the man-made disaster of Octavia “Boulevard,” from just last month, April 2014, IDK, 10 days ago?

See down below, those cardboard boxes were the start of a homeless encampment that stretched north up the Boulevard:

How many people slept there each night? IDK, but there were spaces for like a dozen people.

Anyway, that was then and this is now – this is how things look today, May 1st, after the recent clean up:

See that? Homeless people be gone, replaced by “ol ol g” (DDG, for those of you who don’t read Starchitect or whatever the hell that font is called) and DM DEVELOPMENT, ’cause, you know, it just wouldn’t do to have those glorious names residing over where people reside.

Oh, and here’s the pitch:

Design

DM Development collaborates with visionary architects and interior designers to create remarkable living spaces that push the boundaries of design.

That’s your 8 Octavia condo update. Look for the banner ads soon – it won’t be long now… 

The Empire Strikes Back: Board President David Chiu’s AirBNB Legalization Proposal Gets Opposed by the SFAA, Tenant’s Groups

Monday, April 28th, 2014

A fresh press release:

“NEWS RELEASE: SAN FRANCISCO CITYWIDE COALITION SAYS NO TO PROPOSED CHIU LEGISLATION - Board of Supervisors trying to convert residential housing to short-term rentals

Press conference Tuesday April 29, 2014 Steps of City Hall at 10:00 am

San Francisco — Organizations representing usually divergent interests ranging from tenants to landlords, and from hotel workers to the hospitality industry have joined forces with neighborhood and homeowner associations to oppose legislation introduced by Supervisor David Chiu to legalize the short term rentals of residential property throughout San Francisco.

“In the face of an unprecedented housing crisis, Supervisor Chiu’s legislation to legalize the short term rentals of residential property will only exacerbate the housing crisis. This practice is detrimental to our rent-controlled housing stock”, said Janan New, Executive Director of the San Francisco Apartment Association.

“Our studies have shown that with over 10,000 units of housing being rented out over Airbnb, HomeAway and other websites this practice is having a negative impact on hotel workers and San Francisco’s hospitality industry”, said Mike Casey, President of UNITE HERE Local 2.

“The proposed legislation would rezone the entire city from residential zoning to commercial zoning in one fell swoop. We hear complaints from almost every neighborhood about the detrimental effects of short term rentals on the quality of life of tenants and residents”, said John Bardis, former President of the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods and former San Francisco Supervisor.

“Supervisors Chiu’s legislation would repeal hard won controls on Single Resident Occupancy housing, threatens current affordable housing provisions for over 30,000 permanently affordable units, would transform newly approved “in-law units” into high priced motel rooms and make “below market rate” units lifetime luxury hotels. It is the single biggest threat to affordable housing ever proposed by a San Francisco Supervisor” stated longtime affordable housing advocate Calvin Welch.

“Airbnb and other hosting platforms owe the City millions of dollars in unpaid hotel taxes. It is high time that the City collect these taxes which pay for the arts and vital city services and programs. The proposed legislation does not clearly hold Airbnb and similar organizations responsible for collecting and remitting the hotel tax”, said former Supervisor Aaron Peskin.

All of these organizations are calling for Supervisor Chiu to withdraw his legislation at a press conference on Tuesday April 29 on the steps of City Hall at 10:00 am.”

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Sues Short-Term Rental Scofflaws for Illegal Conversions, Unlawful Business Practices – Ellis Act, Baby!

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

[UPDATE: Direct link here and the full press kit with complaint here.]

City Attorney Dennis Herrera, The Happy Warrior:

“Herrera sues short-term rental scofflaws for illegal conversions, unlawful business practices

Two cases target ‘egregious offenders’—both involving Ellis Act evictions of disabled tenants to illegally convert residential apartments into tourist lodging

SAN FRANCISCO (April 23, 2014) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed two separate lawsuits against short-term rental scofflaws for illegally converting residential apartments into commercial tourist lodging, which the property owners then marketed through such online platforms as Airbnb, Homeway.com and VRBO.com.  In both cases, the defendants had previously evicted long-term residents from their apartments under the Ellis Act, a state law that allows landlords to evict tenants and withdraw their properties from the residential rental market.  Two of the evicted tenants were disabled, according to San Francisco Superior Court and Rent Board records cited in today’s pleadings.

“In the midst of a housing crisis of historic proportions, illegal short-term rental conversions of our scarce residential housing stock risks becoming a major contributing factor,” said Herrera.  “The cases I’ve filed today target two egregious offenders.  These defendants didn’t just flout state and local law to conduct their illegal businesses, they evicted disabled tenants in order to do so.  Today’s cases are the first among several housing-related matters under investigation by my office, and we intend to crack down hard on unlawful conduct that’s exacerbating—and in many cases profiting from—San Francisco’s alarming lack of affordable housing.  I’m grateful to the city departments, including the San Francisco Planning Department, and community advocates who have worked with my office to help us pursue these kinds of scofflaws.  And I encourage tenants and neighbors to report housing-related wrongdoing online to my office through our Up2Code.org website or the Up2Code app, or by calling our Code Enforcement Hotline at (415) 554-3977.”

Herrera’s complaints filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning detail pervasive violations of the city Planning Code and state Unfair Competition Law at three addresses: 3073-3075 Clay Street, owned by defendants Darren and Valerie Lee; and 734 and 790 Bay Street, which is owned or managed by defendants Lev, Tamara and Tatyana Yurovsky.  If successful, the litigation could result in permanent court-ordered injunctions; civil penalties of up to $200 per day for Planning Code violations; up to $2,500 for each unlawful business act; disgorgement of illegally obtained profits; and attorneys’ fees.  Though the Ellis Act itself does not preclude the commercial use of properties for tourists where long-term tenants have previously been evicted, Herrera’s litigation emphasized longstanding city policy that tourist conversions of residential properties be aggressively policed “in order to protect the residents and to conserve the limited housing resources.”

According to one of Herrera’s civil actions, defendants Darren and Valerie Lee purchased 3073-3075 Clay Street in 2004, and invoked the Ellis Act in 2005 to evict their tenants from both of the property’s residential units.  One of the evicted tenants was disabled.  Evidence presented in the complaint found that the Lees have marketed 3075 Clay Street, a four-bedroom, three-bathroom property, for tourist lodging on such vacation websites such as Homeaway.com and VRBO.com since 2009, describing it as an “exquisitely renovated home, in prime Pacific Heights.”  The Lees charged their guests between $395 and $595 per night for a minimum stay of three nights.  But in doing so, the owners flouted the city’s required conditional use authorization process—depriving neighbors and city planners of their role to first determine whether the conversion is necessary or desirable; compatible with the neighborhood; detrimental to the City’s housing stock; or consistent with the city’s Planning Code or Planning Department’s General Plan.  According to Herrera’s complaint, San Francisco’s Planning Department repeatedly cited the Lees for their illegal use of the property for commercial tourist lodging, even collecting penalties of as much $250 per day for violations.  The Lees—who at one point assured Planning Department officials that their illegal conduct had stopped—then defiantly resumed marketing and renting their property to tourists.  In 3073 Clay Street, the Lees evicted a disabled tenant who had lived in the unit for more than ten years and, until evicted, was paying $1,087 per month.  By invoking the Ellis Act, the Lees were legally restricted until August 25, 2011, from re-renting the unit at market rate.  But evidence presented in Herrera’s action shows that the Lees admitted to the Planning Department that they had, in fact, re-rented 3073 Clay Street and charged their new residential tenants between $5,000-$7,038 per month.

Herrera’s other civil complaint against Lev, Tamara and Tatyana Yurovsky notes that they, too, used the Ellis Act to evict long-term residential tenants — including one who was disabled — from one of their properties, at 734 Bay Street.  Together with a residential unit at another of their properties owned by Lev and Tatyana and managed by Tamara, at 790 Bay Street, the Yurovskys illegally converted their apartments into tourist use beginning in 2010.  They marketed the rentals to tourists on Airbnb.com and “greatsfvacation.com” for rates of between $165 and $320 per night, with three-night minimum stays.  Though the Yurovsky defendants boasted on social media that they had hosted several hundred tourists, according to evidence detailed in the complaint, they too flouted the city’s conditional use authorization process, violating the San Francisco Planning Code and state law.

The cases are: City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Darren Lee et al., San Francisco Superior Court No. 538857; and City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Tamara Yurovsky et al., San Francisco Superior Court No. 538854.  Additional documentation from the case is available on the City Attorney’s website at:http://www.sfcityattorney.org/.

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.”