Posts Tagged ‘tenants’

Spank the Landlord! – Infamous Owner of 312 Fillmore Gets a Notice of Violation from San Francisco – Tenants Strike Back

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Well some tenant at 312 Fillmore got a letter from the landlord and sent it off to Hoodline.com and the rest is history.

Here’s the update. Some of the tenants contacted DBI. See?

And then DBI sent an Inspector out two days ago.

And then the Inspector looked around and filed a Notice of Violation yesterday.

On 5/21/14 Inspector Steve Mungovan investigated the complaint at unit #25 of the subject property and observed violations of the San Francisco Housing Code which are delineated within the Notice of Violation issued on 5/22/2014 identified by Complaint Tracking #201474055. Pertinent observations are as follows: Peeling paint and damaged wall surfaces.”

This is only going to get worse for this particular landlord.

Oh, and guess what? If the LL tries to evict anybody soon, that action just might be presumed to be a retaliatory eviction.

Ouch.

On It Goes…

Description: The kitchen sink hot water pipe was changed out previously from galvanized to bronze; they didnt change out the cold water, which is still leaking. Because the building and piping is old, there are blockages. He has had water leak out and found standing water in the apartment. **He has had a water leak from rain that is coming through the window and there is damage to the wall below. There was also a large crack about 2-3 inches deep and a crack on the outside, where the water is coming in. The apartment has not been painted since he moved in, in 1989. Cracks in walls.
Instructions: 311 SR# 3649450 , ** 3649409 rec’d by HIS on 5/16/2014

The Reason Why It’s Not “Illegal” for the Landlord at 312 Fillmore to Require $100K Income and a 725 FICO Score

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Here’s the post from Hoodline. It shows part of a letter given to all the tenants at, let’s say, 312 Fillmore on Haight.

Can’t say that I know the purpose, but it could be to give a heads up to tenants who might wish to replace a roommate under the rules laid out by the San Francisco Rent Board. There’s some stuff in there about landlords “unreasonably” withholding consent from existing tenants who want to get a new roomie. Of course there are all kinds of factors that determine who and how many people can live in a unit in rent controlled SF, so it’s not impossible that you’d have two people in a one bedroom and then one moves out and another wants to move in. And at that point, that’s where incomes and credit scores can become factors. And if the LL says no to a potential new roomie, that’s when things can go to the SFRB.

Now if you want to say that this letter means “Make $100k Or Get Out,” well that’s your right, but I think you’re jumping to conclusions. If you want to say that this is a kind of harassment, well, you’re going to need a lot more than this to be able to do anything with it. And if you’re irritated by this landlord coming into your studio all the time without giving proper notice first, well, the lawgivers in Sacramento didn’t exactly specify a penalty for not giving proper notice, so there’s not much you can do there either.

(But, by all means, go ask Robert (or whatever his name is) what his intent was. And if he says, “Well, I’m evicting everybody in the building who makes less than $100k,” well, then the conclusion you all jumped to was OK fine.)

The proper response here is to ignore the letter and store it away along with all the others.

“Mixed use property – 25 residential, 5 commercial  30 unit, 5-story building

 18 studios, 6-one bedrooms & spacious 3 bedroom, 1-1/2 bath penthouse with formal living/dining rooms, extra large kitchen, utility area, fireplace and panoramic views.
Building size: 17,750 sq. ft.
Lot size: 5,980 sq. ft.
Year built: 1925
Zoning: NC2
Parcel #: 0849-020
Current rents are $1800 to $3500 Studio to 1 bedrooms”

Life goes on, in high-rent Frsico, a block from the projects, on Webster…

All right, play us out, Victor Vasquez:

Kool A.D., living contradictory since ’83
Arkansas street, like a block from the projects
HP some more blocks from some other projects
To Alameda, so we not by the projects
Now look at me, getting nods for my projects

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. 

Newly Combative District Four Supervisor Katy Tang Takes Aim at Pro-Tenant Legislation in the Pages of the SF Examiner

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

I say “pages” as I assume that this was printed in yesterday’s SF ‘Xam.

The most interesting observation: We weren’t hanging in the Mission. We were in the Outer Sunset, that foggy Siberia mostly known for extended Asian families living in rows of attached homes built on barren sand dunes.

THERE’S A REASON WHY REAL ESTATE VALUES ARE LOWER IN THE OUTSET, RIGHT? DO YOU WANT TO GET INTO THAT?

Yet the trend behind the toast tweeted around the world started at Trouble Coffee on Judah Street.

NOPE

If trendy cafes are copying Trouble Coffee’s fancy toast, how did the Outer Sunset become a trendsetter? “My office can’t take credit for it,” said Tang, who recently turned 30 and is the youngest member of the Board of Supervisors. “What you see just sprang up and has a life of its own.”

WHETHER THE SUPERVISOR OF THIS AREA IS KATY TANG OR ED JEW, THAT HAS ZERO EFFECT ON WHAT THE OUTER SUNSET IS LIKE, RIGHT. KATY TANG, YOU DON’T “CREATE” ANYTHING, CAPISCHE? SIMILARLY, YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR THE MANY ISSUES THIS AREA HAS – SEE HOW THAT WORKS?

I love that it’s so organic. People have a more independent attitude out here. They don’t like bureaucracy and government intervention. They are free spirits. It might be something about being by the beach.”

KATY TANG IS AGAINST “BUREAUCRACY” AND “GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION,” REALLY?

Westside residents have historically been against growth, but Tang said she’s “hearing a tone of change.” She will discuss her ideas for “responsible development” at the Sunset Recreation Center at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

(LOTS OF LUCK WITH THIS ONE, KATY. IT COULD BE A BUMPY RIDE.)

“For so long we made it difficult to grow neighborhoods. Now we just keep going in circles with sensational eviction stories and legislation against property owners,” Tang said. “I feel bad about evictions, but we need balance because more burdens on property owners will only create a backlash. They’ll just throw their hands up and refuse to rent anymore. That’s why we have to create more supply.”

WOW, SOMEBODY FEELS SECURE IN HER JOB!

Tang said she is troubled by City Hall’s volume of reactionary legislation, like last year’s creation of a decadelong ban on converting rentals into condominiums. It was touted as a way to keep tenants in rent-controlled units but had the reverse effect.

SCORECARD PLEASE: “PROGRESSIVE LEGISLATION” = “REACTIONARY LEGISLATION?” REALLY?

There used to be an economic incentive to not evict tenants because a building with a clean eviction history was eligible for the lucrative condo lottery. With that hope now gone, petitions for Ellis Act evictions increased substantially (32 affecting 130 units were filed in the six months leading up to the condo ban compared to 50 for 211 units during the six months after). Predictably, with nothing to lose by an Ellis eviction, property owners are now cashing out to buyers willing to sell units as tenancies-in-common.

I DON’T KNOW WHOSE WORDS THESE ARE – I DON’T THINK THEY’RE OPERATIONAL, IRL. LANDLORDS NOW HAVE “NOTHING TO LOSE BY AN ELLIS ACT EVICTION?” REALLY? I DON’T THINK SO.

“I worry that we’re ignoring the unintended consequences of all the legislation in the pipeline,” Tang said. “Instead of solving our housing problem, we may end up hurting more tenants in the long run.”

CERTAINLY, RENT CONTROL CREATES WINNERS AND LOSERS. KATY TANG, ARE YOU IN FAVOR OF RENT CONTROL? YES? SORT OF? MMMM…

“I never expected to be in elective office,” said Tang, who was appointed to complete her predecessor Carmen Chu’s term and can serve two terms of her own.

KATY TANG WAS APPOINTED TO DO WHATEVER SHE’S TOLD TO DO BY THE PEOPLE WHO GOT TOGETHER TO APPOINT HER, OBVIOUSLY.

“I don’t need to introduce quick-fix legislation five times a week.”

THIS IS A LITTLE, HOW DO YOU SAY, COMBATIVE, HUH?

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 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.

OMG, It’s the Great 2014 Haight Ashbury / Richmond District TENANT CONVENTION – January 18th – Eric Mar

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Supervisor Eric Mar is pissed off these days – just look:

“Upcoming Tenant Convention

Please join me and tenant leaders from the Richmond and Haight-Ashbury for a Tenant Convention to be held on Saturday, January 18th at 1:00 p.m., at the Park Branch library (1893 Page St. between Cole and Shrader).

It will build on the momentum that was generated by the Our Richmond/No Eviction event that I convened on December 4, which drew over 70 participants from the Richmond eager to talk about what can be done to stop the eviction crisis that is tearing apart communities in District 1 and throughout the City.  

Come and learn about what you can do if you or your neighbors are being faced with eviction and help us to plan for legislation to fight back.

This gathering is sponsored by the San Francisco Tenants Union, Housing Rights Committee, Causa Justa/Just Cause, Senior and Disability Action and ACCE.”

Turn Off the Dark: Our 88-Year-Old Pacific Telephone Building is Back in Business, Baby! 140 New Montgomery is All Lit Up

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Thusly:

You see, first it was all like this, abandoned, empty:

Then it was all like this, as seen from 225 Bush, a slightly older and slightly shorter building:

And then you could see through the thing, as seen earlier this year:

And now it’s a beacon at night.

I guess it’s called 140NM now? Ok fine.

So, first this building was commercial office space, then they wanted to change it to condos, and then they changed it back to office space, and now I’ll bet they wished they had stuck with the condo idea. Oh well.

Anyway, get all the deets on the Pacific Bell Building right here.

 

Were $500-Per-Month Studios Promised for Trinity Place 4.5 Years Ago? Yes – Plus, What About Trinity Plaza Tenants?

Friday, November 30th, 2012

Ah mem’ries from all the way back in aught-eight – let’s hear from Angelo “Father of Rent Control” Sangiacomo from back in the day:

“Who the hell is building buildings today, 440 rentals in San Francisco, and paying all cash? With rents down there at $500 and $700?”

Now, what are the chances that hundreds of people will be renting $500 studios in a new building at Eight and Market anytime soon?

Absolute zero.

Oh well.

Oh, here it is, the old Trinity Plaza at Eighth and Market and its replacement, the new Trinity Place, just behind:

Click to expand

Speaking of which, the existing tenants of Trinity Plaza need to move out soon, you know, for the soon-to-come implosion of the old building, but what’s up with all of these cleaning demands coming from Management?

Let’s hear from a youthful tenant who’s losing his place:

“Now we get forms with detailed instructions on everything that needs to be cleaned before you move out. In my mind, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom / toilet / sinks / oven etc should be enough. There are some pretty weird demands in here considering this building is being demolished. Some examples:

All carpets must be vacuumed and shampooed
Wood or linoleum floors must be mopped, waxed or polished using appropriate cleaning products.
Clean sink(s). Hardware should be clean, free of water spots and shiny
Cabinets must be cleaned inside and out. Scrub fronts clean to remove fingerprints and food.
Clean baseboards and coving. Clean, mop and wax linoleum floors with appropriate cleaning products.”

I cry foul.

On It Goes…

Oh, and for the record, this is the Senator Carole Migden Law - it’s in effect statewide:

“If the tenant and landlord cannot reach an agreement on the amount of the security deposit returned, the tenant can file a lawsuit against the landlord for return of the security deposit.  The tenant can sue for:

  • The amount of the deposit, plus
  • Twice the amount of the security deposit in damages. The judge may give the tenant these additional damages if the landlord retained the deposit in bad faith.

The tenant can sue the landlord in small claims, which is informal and inexpensive, as long as the total amount sued for is $10,000 or less. Click for more information on Small Claims.”