Posts Tagged ‘tax’

Boy, Our DPW is Cooking Up a Deal for You: Pay a Small Parcel Tax of $15 or $39 to Avoid Unlimited Liability for Street Trees

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

All the DPW wants is simply this:

All the money it can get its hands on.

To that end, it wants to tax you mo money. But this proposed schedule, as seen on the BOMA Blog, sounds like a very very good deal for you, J.Q. Public.

‘Cause the last thing you want is liability for trees you didn’t plant and also actually, trees you didn’t even want in the first place.

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Say yes yes yes to this offer, homeowners, afore they change their minds!

Interim Mayor Ed Lee Stars as a Menacing Celestial Body in This “Yes On Prop G” Flyer

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Hadn’t noticed this one before:

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Take it away, BALLOTPEDIA:

“A City of San Francisco Transfer Tax on Residential Property Re-Sold in Five Years, Proposition G ballot question was on the November 4, 2014 election ballot for voters in the city of San Francisco, California. It was defeated.

Proposition G imposed an additional tax on the sale or transfer of multi-unit property that has been owned for less than five years. Details about the tax are in the San Francisco Ballot Simplification digest.

Election results

City of San Francisco, Proposition G
Result Votes Percentage
Defeated No 117,887 53.91%
Yes 100,776 46.09%

Election results via: City and County of San Francisco Registrar of Voters

The San Francisco Ballot Simplification Committee provided the following digest for Proposition G:[1]

THE WAY IT IS NOW:The City collects a transfer tax on sales of most real property in San Francisco. The tax rate depends on the sale price of the property. The lowest tax rate is 0.5%, for property sold for $250,000 or less. The highest tax rate is 2.5%, for property sold for $10,000,000 or more. The tax rate is not affected by how long a property is owned.THE PROPOSAL:

Proposition G would impose an additional tax on the total sale price of certain multi-unit residential properties that are sold within five years of purchase or transfer. The following table shows the tax rates that would apply:

Length of Time Seller Has Owned Property – Tax Rate:

Less than one year – 24 percent
One to two years – 22 percent
Two to three years – 20 percent
Three to four years – 18 percent
Four to five years – 14 percent

This additional tax would apply to sales occurring on or after January 1, 2015.

This additional tax would not apply in the following circumstances:

  • The property is a single-family house or condominium and does not include an in-law unit;
  • An owner of the property, including a tenancy-in-common unit, has used it as a primary residence for at least one year immediately before the sale;
  • The property contains more than 30 separate residential units;
  • The property is sold for an amount equal to or less than what the seller paid for the property;
  • The property is sold within one year of a property owner’s death;
  • The property is legally restricted to low- and middle-income households;
  • The property is newly built housing;
  • The property meets the following criteria: it contains no more than two dwelling units; the seller applied on or before July 1, 2014, for a building permit for a project with a total construction cost of $500,000 or more; and the last permit was issued no more than a year before the sale of the property; or
  • The sale of the property is exempt from the existing transfer tax.

This measure would also authorize the Board of Supervisors to create additional exemptions from both the existing transfer tax and this proposed additional tax for properties that are subject to affordability-based restrictions.

A “YES” VOTE MEANS: If you vote “yes,” you want the City to impose an additional tax of between 14% and 24% on the total sale price of certain multi-unit residential properties that are sold within five years of purchase or transfer, subject to certain exceptions.

A “NO” VOTE MEANS: If you vote “no,” you do not want the City to impose this additional tax.

Whoo Boy: “LEGAL REVIEW FINDS PROP. F LAWSUITS MAY RESULT IN $435,000 AWARD FOR MINOR, ALLEGED VIOLATIONS”

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

Airbnb is pulling out all the stops here.

Let me just say that first of all, no “minor” violations of San Francisco’s short term rental laws will result in anything like a $435K award. Sorry. And also, by the time any “awards” are handed out, said violations are no longer merely “alleged,” but actually proven.

And now, on with the show:

“Noted Law Firm Browne George Ross LLP Provides Review of Legal Impacts of San Francisco’s Prop. F

Proposition F creates a profit-motivated private right of action even if the City and County of San Francisco finds no violation.

WELL, LET’S SEE HERE. A PRIVATE RIGHT OF ACTION ALREADY EXISTS, RIGHT? YEP. WHAT PROP F ADDS ON TOP OF THIS IS AN ADDITIONAL PENALTY OF $250-$1000 A DAY, ASSUMING THAT THE RESIDENTS BRINGING SUIT ACTUALLY WIN. THE REASON THAT THIS ACTION WOULD BE ALLOWED INDEPENDENT OF WHAT SFGOV DOES IS THAT SOMETIMES SFGOV LIKES TO SIT ON ITS HANDS AND DO NOTHING, SIMILAR TO THE WAY THAT IT’S DONE VERY LITTLE TO REGULATE SHORT TERM RENTALS THE LIKES OF WHICH WE’VE BEEN SEEING THE PAST TEN YEARS, AND, IN FACT, THE LITTLE THAT SFGOV HAS BEEN DOING LATELY WAS SPURRED ON BY THE PROSPECT OF PROP F. SO ACTUALLY, PROP F IS GOOD BECAUSE IT’S ALREADY PAYING OFF. AND, AS FAR AS “PROFIT-MOTIVATED” IS CONCERNED, SOMETHING SIMILAR IS ALREADY IN CALIFORNIA LAW REGARDING LANDLORD REFUNDS OF RENTAL DEPOSITS. SO IF A LANDLORD IMPROPERLY RETAINS AN APARTMENT SECURITY DEPOSIT, THE TENANT CAN SUE FOR NOT ONLY THE WRONGFULLY RETAINED PART BUT ALSO AN AMOUNT DOUBLE THE DEPOSIT AS A KIND OF SPECIAL DAMAGES. SO A LANDLORD’S MOUTHPIECE COULD ARGUE THAT THE TENANT SUING IS “PROFIT-MOTIVATED,” BUT THAT WOULDN’T ACTUALLY BE TRUE, RIGHT? AND IN FACT, THIS RENTAL DEPOSIT REFUND LAW SCARES LANDLORDS INTO DOING THE RIGHT THING, SO THAT NO LEGAL ACTION EVER NEEDS TO GET KICKED INTO ACTION. SEE HOW THAT WORKS?

In other words if someone wishes to sue their neighbor even after the city and County of San Francisco has determined there is no violation, an unscrupulous individual can still file a lawsuit and simply claim damages amounting to as much as $435,000 plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

WELL, THIS LOS ANGELES-BASED LAW FIRM IS SIMPLY ASSUMING THAT THE PROPERTY OWNER USING AIRBNB OR WHATEVER TO VIOLATE OUR LAWS WOULD BE A NEIGHBOR OF THE SAN FRANCISCO RESIDENTS AFFECTED. BUT LOTS OF AIRBNBERS DON’T EVEN LIVE IN SF, RIGHT? SO IT’S RATHER MORE RESIDENT SUING AIRBNBER AS OPPOSED TO “NEIGHBOR SUING NEIGHBOR,” RIGHT? AND HEY, HOW CAN AN “UNSCRUPULOUS INDIVIDUAL” GET AN ATTORNEY TO REPRESENT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE, RIGHT? AND HEY, “NOTED” LA LAW FIRM WHAT I’VE NEVER HEARD OF AFORE, HAVE ANY OF YOU EVER REPRESENTED AN “UNSCRUPULOUS INDIVIDUAL?” HMMM… THAT’S SOMETHING TO THINK ON. IN ANY EVENT, UNSCRUPULOUS INDIVIDUALS  WITH WORTHLESS CASES WON’T WIN AT COURT SO THEY WON’T GET ANY DAMAGES AT ALL, RIGHT? AND LET ME JUST SAY, ANY AIRBNBER WHO ACTUALLY ENDS UP PAYING $435K PLUS HAS REALLY REALLY REALLY SCREWED UP. THESE WILL BE UNIQUE PEOPLE, CERTAINLY.

Because litigation is so incredibly expensive, time consuming and stressful many people will pay to get out of suits even though they have done nothing wrong.

BOY, WHAT A PITCH FROM A LAW FIRM – YOU DON’T NEED US, JUST PAY ALL THE MONEY ANYBODY EVER ASKS FOR AND THEN WAIT FOR THE NEWS TO SPREAD AND THEN GET SUED AGAIN AND AGAIN. AND NOTE HERE, I’M NOT ARGUING THAT PROP F IS GOOD FOR AIRBNBERS (ALTHOUGH IT MIGHT ACTUALLY BE GOOD FOR SOME) – I’M SAYING THAT PROP F IS GOOD FOR SAN FRANCISCO. AND ACTUALLY, PROP F WOULD BE GOOD FOR LOS ANGELES LAW FIRMS, POSSIBLY, IF LA-BASED AIRBNBERS GET SUED IN SF AND THEY WANT TO HAVE A LOCAL ATTORNEY, THEN MAYBE EVEN THIS LA FIRM COULD GET IN ON THE ACTION.

Proposition F will exponentially exacerbate the problem by encouraging an untold number of new lawsuits, thus delaying even more those who appropriately seek justice through San Francisco Superior Court

WELL LET’S SEE HERE. PROP F WILL BE BUT A DROP IN THE BUCKET AS FAR AS SF SUP CT IS CONCERNED. IT’S NOT GOING TO EXPONENTIALLY DO ANYTHING.

FIN.

SURPRISE! Local Airbnb-Type Room Letter OPPOSES Prop F – Let’s Read “Emey” Meyerson’s Take on SF’s Airbnb Mess

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

[UPDATE: Another reaction here. Oh, and another reaction here, from Sara Shortt.]

I don’t know who Medium Corporation‘s Emey is – what, a Scott Wiener fan, an Airbnb room/unit letter, a person who also makes money from “marketing, politics?”

Anywho, I sort of asked for somebody to tell me why Prop F is bad right here, so I’ll read through this and respond, you know, in real time.

1. So Prop F is worse than I think? So you think I think it’s bad, but you’re here on Medium telling me that it’s even worse than I think it is? Well, that’s not right at all. I think Prop F is great.

2. So like I’m not responsible for what signature gatherers say, right? ‘Nough said. Should I point out how Airbnb says/does similar things? OK then.

3. Yes, STR’s are already regulated by SFGov, but poorly. That’s why we have the Prop F, to fix what they call regulatory capture.

4. Airbnb-type outfits are the primary problem, right? I’ll concede that there are others out there. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t regulate Airbnb, right? Airbnbers oppose Prop F because, unlike the current regs, it wasn’t written with input from Airbnb itself. Like, should VW write our air pollution laws?

5. Well, Prop F isn’t the worst way to go about things. A worser way to regulate Airbnb is to have Airbnb write the rules what cover Airbnb’s business, right? What we’ve had so far from Supervisor Chiu has been a disaster, right? And then our dominant political faction assumed that something like Prop F wouldn’t make the ballot. And that takes us up to now. Hey, let’s take a look:

“After Mayor Lee and the Board of Supervisors screwed up short-term rental legislation not once but twice, voters now face a choice: keep current law or replace it with Prop F. Those upset over “ballot box planning” should blame City Hall for not enacting the handful of changes that would have either prevented Prop F from going to the ballot or ensured its defeat.”

6. Uh, is it “really hard to find the text online,” like actually? Uh no. Google “PROP F SF” and then after you click on the first hit, click on THE MEASURE. Easy peasy, huh, LIAR?

7. “It’ll blow your mind.” O rly? We’ll see. Hey, you know, my mind’s already blown by the number of meetings that David Chiu’s office had with Airbnb reps to create the first unworkable regs – is it 60 fucking meetings? 60 meetings to create an unworkable mess? Mind blown. Already.

8. So, you promise us Prop F but now you’re coming in with how it’s existing hotels what don’t want private Airbnb hotels in the Parkside. Let’s see, who’s against Prop F – it’s Airbnb and the superhosts, right? As expected, right? (And I’m thinking your hotel worker union types would be big Prop F boosters as well.)

9. You know, some Airbnbers who let out rooms support Prop F, right? Are they crazy?

10. I’ll field this one. Cleaning a house before guests arrive is not assisting anyone to offer a short term rental.

11. Well, if your neighbor “prevails,” then your neighbor gets money. If you neighbor doesn’t prevail, then not. Simple. You’re missing the “prevailing” part, Mediumer.

12. And if a taxi driver refuses to pick you up because s/he doesn’t like your color, creed, whathaveyou, that’s a misdemeanor too, right? Laws need to have teeth, right?

13. Yep, a quarterly report. No biggee, it would seem.

14. So let’s see here, illegal in-law units shouldn’t be on Airbnb, right? Is this so surprising?

15. What Airbnb should do is keep track of its own rentals, for a start, huh? Shouldn’t be too hard.

16. People will still be able to Airbnb after Prop F passes, right? But Prop F should really put the hurt on Airbnb hotel buildings.

17. Prop F can totally be fixed, if necessary, by a judge or two or more, or by a vote of The People. Yes, we can visit this issue again later.

18. What’s this?! “I have been a part-time homesharer in SF since last year.” This should have been the first line of your bit, non? Ah, man, I don’t think I would have read your whole bit if you had been upfront about your conflict of interest. And why is my Google Chrome underlining “homesharer?” Oh that’s right, it’s because you made it up. Let’s try something else, something honest, like “room letter.” See? No underlining. Case closed.

19. Oh, this Medium bit is ending abruptly, after the Big Reveal. All right, yeah, well, that’s just, like, your opinion, man.

YES ON PROP F Fever Sweeps Over Frisco (AFAIK) – Spotting New Posters About Town – “FIX THE AIRBNB MESS”

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

I looked for signs like these afore, but didn’t see them.

Now, in mid-September, I’m seeing them – that’s the update:

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Here’s a nice write-up from a neutral source:

“Prior to February 2015, the city banned private, short-term rentals, but did not dedicate sufficient resources to fully enforce the law.”

Yep, pretty much.

Prop F Update: Let’s Look at Both Sides of SF Proposition F (2015), the Airbnb Law – Fixing Frisco’s Broken Short-Term Rental Mess

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015

(I’ll tell you, I don’t care what you do or where you rest your noggin at night. Fundamentally, I’m not a NIMBY – I don’t care what you do. I’ll admit I think it’s noteworthy when I spot Airbnb users in the Western Addition or the Sunset or wherever, ’cause they stand out (without realizing it) like a sore thumb, but I don’t have anything against tourists milling about, you know, per se. It’s funny, they ask me about parking laws. I try to help out. I tell them which way to curb their tires, ’cause a lot of them just don’t get it. And I’ll add that I know people who use Airbnb, and I know people who make some money letting rooms and units via Airbnb and the VRBO. But obvs I don’t own Airbnb options or anything and I’ll also note that I don’t own any hotels or anything.)

So that’s where I stand. No conflicts of interest – how refreshing, non? Now let’s take a look at Prop F via ShareBetterSF:

1. Limits short-term rentals to 75 nights per year, regardless of whether a ‘host’ is present

THIS LOOKS GOOD TO ME. THE WHOLE “HOST PRESENT” THING APPEARS TO BE A GIANT LOOPHOLE COOKED UP BY AIRBNB ITSELF IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE OFFICE OF SUPERVISOR DAVID CHIU. THE RULES THAT HE AND AIRBNB CAME UP WITH ARE A HUGE, UNWORKABLE MESS, IMO.

2. Requires quarterly reports to the Planning Department on the number of nights a unit is rented to tourists

IF YOU’RE RENTING OUT A ROOM OR A UNIT, YOU’D NEED A REGISTRATION NUMBER AND YOU’D NEED TO REPORT HOW MANY TIMES YOU DID IT EVERY THREE MONTHS. SOUNDS PRETTY SIMPLE TO ME. SOUNDS A LOT SIMPLER THAN, SAY, THE EXTRA WORK YOU’LL HAVE TO DO WHEN ANNUAL TAX TIME COMES. IF THIS IS TOO MUCH OF A BURDEN ON YOU, THE PERSON RENTING OUT ROOMS, PERHAPS YOU SHOULDN’T BE IN THIS BIDNESS?

3. Fines ‘hosting platforms’ (like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway) for listing unregistered units

BAM. IF YOU HAVE A REG. NUMBER, YOU CAN LIST. IF YOU DON’T, YOU CAN’T.

4. Provides other building tenants, neighbors and neighborhood associations with notice when a unit is registered as a short-term rental

SO SFGOV WOULD SEND OUT A BRACE OF LETTERS EVERY TIME A UNIT GETS REGISTERED – THIS IS A ONE-TIME DEAL, RIGHT? AGAIN, DOES THIS SEEM SO UNREASONABLE?

5. Allows other building tenants & neighbors to go to court to protect their rights to the quiet enjoyment of their homes when the City fails to enforce the law

SO THERE ARE YOUR TEETH. THIS IS WHY AIRBNBER’S WILL ACTUALLY PAY ATTENTION TO SF PROP F 2015.

[INTERMISSION]

NOW LET’S HEAR FROM AIRBNB::

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1. WELL, YEAH, I GUESS, AIRBNB – YOU COULD CHARACTERIZE THINGS THAT WAY. BUT LET’S SAY AN AIRBNBER FROM WALNUT CREEK BUYS A BUILDING IN SF AND THEN AIRBNBS ALL THE UNITS 365/366 DAYS A YEAR – THIS IS WHAT THE PROP F PEOPLE WOULD CALL “RUNNING A HOTEL.” IF I WERE SAID BUILDING OWNER LIVING IN WALNUT CREEK, I’D BE VERY AFRAID OF PROP F, SO I’D FOLLOW THE NEW RULES, RIGHT? IS THAT SO BAD?

2. WELL, I LIVE IN SF, AIRBNB. SO I DON’T THINK YOU’RE TALKING TO ME. BUT i’LL SAY THAT I THINK THE “DATA” WE’RE TALKING ABOUT IS HOW MANY TIMES A QUARTER AIRBNBERS ARE IN BUSINESS, SO NO BIG DEAL, RIGHT? SO FAR, YOU’RE NOT REALLY SCARING ME AWAY FROM PROP F HERE, AIRBNB. LET’S SOLDIER ON…

3. SFGOV AND AIRBNB HAVE MADE A HASH OF THIS PROCESS SO FAR. THE CURRENT SYSTEM ISN’T WORKING, SORRY. THIS IS WHY PROP F QUALIFIED FOR THE BALLOT, RIGHT?

4. HEY, AREN’T MOST IN-LAW UNITS IN TOWN ALREADY “BANNED?” I THINK SO. I THINK IT’S BECAUSE THEY AREN’T CODE COMPLIANT. WHY SHOULDN’T WE LEGALIZE THESE UNITS FIRST, IF THAT’S WHAT WE WANT TO DO, AFORE WE START WORRYING ABOUT HOW MUCH MONEY WE CAN MAKE OFF OF THEM? AND IF THIS IN-LAW ISSUE IS SUCH A BIG CONCERN A FEW YEARS DOWN THE ROAD AFTER THE POSSIBLE LEGALIZATION OF THESE UNITS, WELL, THEN WE CAN VOTE AGAIN, RIGHT? PERHAPS THIS WILL BE A BIT CUMBERSOME, BUT THAT’S WHAT YOU GET WHEN YOU HAVE A REGULATORY CAPTURE SUCH AS THE ONE WE’RE IN.  

So, IDK, am I missing something here? What am I missing? Any beef anybody has against Prop F is displaced anger – the people who created the current situation are the ones responsible. Oh what’s that, Airbnb, you say the rules from Prop F are “too extreme?” Well, that’s because, unlike the current regs,  you didn’t write them. See how that works, Airbnb? Perhaps you should have cooked up a fairer set of rules for yourself, and then Prop F never would never have gone on the ballot, right?

So tell me, Gentle Reader, what am I missing here?

Otherwise, I’m a-voting YES ON PROP F.

Historic Yelp Typo for Expensive SoMA Flophouse: “We Had Bats In Our Room” – Should Be Gnats? Cats? Rats?

Monday, August 17th, 2015

I’ll tell you, this blows me away:

“…Best Western Plus Americania recently posted rates of $460 a night.”

Isn’t that a tad pricy, you know, considering?

Anywho, Andrea M says:

We had bats in our room…

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This can’t be right, right?

It’s gotta be gnats, right?

Are bats attracted to humidity? One assumes not. But are gnats attracted to humidity? One assumes so.

Otherwise, bats, rats OR cats would be somewhat disturbing.

Almost as disturbing as the idea of paying $460 to stay a night (plus hotel tax, like 15%) (plus $30, for parking!) (plus hotel tax, like 15% on the parking fee) at a Best Western motel at 7th and Market…

The Large, Wasteful, Obsolete, Expensive “PedMount” News Boxes of the Streets of San Francisco – Aesthetics vs. Our 1st Amendment

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Does SFGov tax newspapers to run these green monsters?

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Yes. Yes it does.

Mayor Willie Brown didn’t like this, so now we have this.

Most of these green boxes are empty most of the time.

Every so often, people come by to clean the big, green mostly-empty-all-the-time Pedmounts by illegally parking in bus zones, or simply double parking. The workers need to scan a barcode inside the Pedmounts to prove that they actually visited, cause, you know, it’s hard to actually tell what good they’re doing.

These Pedmounts were a bad idea from the beginning and they’re an even worser idea now, in this day and age. (We also have to pay for them by having all these giant 17-foot-tall ads on sidewalks.)

Oh well.

Sugar, Irresistible Sugar, Relentless Sugar: On Sale Today in the 94132

Friday, July 17th, 2015

It’s twisted, huh?

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A Walmart-Style “Greeter” for Civic Center? Controversial CBD Pays Good Money for “Nighttime Ambassador?”

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Here’s where our money goes, for better or worse:

“CBD Adds Civic Center Greeter for Improved Safety at Night

In June, the CBD started an experiment to see if we could impact safety, both real and perceived, by adding one nighttime ambassador dedicated to the entrance and elevator area of the Civic Center Parking Garage.

Over the past year, the arts organizations have received complaints from patrons saying they feel unsafe when they walk back to their cars at night because of the lack of other people in the area. The CBD believes that this is impacting people’s willingness to park in the garage and it impacts traffic flow, congestion and pedestrian safety on busy nights as people circle the blocks looking for parking.

After two months, the CBD will evaluate the program”