Out of place - Page 2

Evictions are driving long-time renters out of their homes -- and out of SF. Here are the stories of several people being evicted

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One TIC owner said he was financially burdened, but had only entered into the arrangement because "I wanted to stay here and raise my family, but we couldn't afford a single family home." Yet tenants brought their own set of concerns to the table, saying the temptation to create TICs was putting a major dent in the city's finite stock of rent-controlled units — the single greatest source of affordable housing in San Francisco.

"My feeling is, let's stop doing TICs," Tommi Avicolli Mecca, a tenants right activist with the Housing Rights Committee, told the Guardian following the hearing. "The city has to just start making sure that the condos that are built are the kind of thing [TIC buyers] can afford. Instead, we cannibalize our rental stock? That's a reasonable way? You evict one group of people to house another: How does that make sense?"

The grueling five-hour hearing illustrated the sad fact that San Franciscans in a slightly better economic position were being pitted against economically disadvantaged renters. The two groups were bitterly divided, and all seemed weary, furious, and frustrated by their housing situations.

The condo-conversion legislation, co-sponsored by Sups. Scott Wiener and Mark Farrell, did not move forward that day. Instead, Board President David Chiu made a motion to table the discussion until Feb. 25, to provide time for "an intensive negotiation process." Chiu, who rents his home, added: "While I myself would like to become a homeowner someday ... I do not support the legislation in its current form."

Sup. Jane Kim sought to appeal to the tenants as well as the TIC owners. "It's very tragic that we have set up a situation where [TICs and renters] are pitted against one another," she said. She hinted at what a possible alternative to might look like. "We should be looking at a ban of scale," she said. "If we allow 1,800 potential units to go thru this year, are we willing to do a freeze for the next 8 to 10 years?"

It's unclear what will happen in the next few weeks, but if this legislation makes it back to the full board in some form, the swing votes are expected to be Sups. London Breed, Malia Cohen and Norman Yee.

CASH OR EVICTION?

New protections were enacted following the late-90s frenzy to discourage real-estate speculators from using the Ellis Act to turn a profit on the backs of vulnerable seniors or disabled tenants. Yet a new wave of investors has discovered they can persuade tenants to leave voluntarily, simply by offering buyouts while simultaneously wielding the threat of an Ellis Act eviction. "The process got more sophisticated," explains San Francisco Rent Board Deputy Director Robert Collins.

Once a tenant has accepted a check in lieu of eviction, rent-controlled units can be converted to market rate, or refurbished and sold as pricey condos, without the legal hindrances of an eviction blemish. Buyouts aren't recorded with the Rent Board, and the agency has no real guidance for residents faced with this particular dilemma. "We don't have the true number on buyouts," says Mecca. "We don't know how many people have left due to intimidation."

Identity-wise, renters impacted by the Ellis Act defy categorization. A contingent of monolingual Chinese residents rallied outside City Hall recently to oppose legislation they believed would give rise to evictions; in the Mission, many targeted tenants are Latinos who primarily speak Spanish. From working immigrants, to aging queer activists, to disabled seniors, to idealists banding together in collective houses, the affected tenants do have one thing in common. When landlords or real-estate speculators perceive that their homes are more valuable unoccupied, their lives are susceptible to being upended by forces beyond their control.

Comments

People who work here must be able to live here.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 04, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

I stopped reading after the first paragraph since you're obviously opinionating on a subject you know nothing about. I sell my newly constructed units for as much as someone will pay, ranging from $1 to $3 million. If I have to set aside a few units to meet city requirenments, it doesn't change the fact that I will sell the remaining units for as much as I can get.

Land buyers aren't stupid. They know what the rules are when they buy a piece of property that they hope to (re)develop, including the limits on what they can charge for any below-market housing requirements. The game isn't impacted by some miniscule below-market housing requirements. The real game is convincing the city zoning people to let me build more stories and at higher density than currently allowed. That's where the real money is made in speculation development.

No one charges a selling price based on costs. The Soviet Union tried it and they became an economic basket case (for other reasons too). Products and services are sold to the highest bidders only, regardless of costs. You may want to go back and retake 10th grade econ before embarassing yourself here again.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 8:26 pm

telling us the real story, rather than all this ideological speculation.

Posted by anon on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 8:32 am

when they buy a piece of property, why are TIC owners insisting on changing those rules to their benefit at the detriment of others?

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 8:43 am

People bought 2-4 unit buildings "knowing" that they were exempt from RC and then, bingo, the rules changed.

And there is already a migration path from TIC to Condo. Speeding that up doesn't change the principle at all.

Posted by anon on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 9:02 am

Not the issue on hand now. If speeding up the "migration path" from TIC to condo isn't relevant to the principal, why are you and your real estate friends pushing so hard for it?

Easy answer. Windfall profits.

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 9:16 am

Ka-Ching! Boom!

Posted by marcos on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 9:29 am

have no intention to sell or flip. Speculators who buy and Ellis a building typically do not live in them.

The TIC owners I know personally include a schoolteacher and a nurse. Are those the kind of people you wish to persecute?

Posted by anon on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 9:31 am

or the word "persecute."

P.E.: "I have a right to be hostile. My people been persecuted."

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 9:52 am

Over-educated, under-employed white liberals who are obsessed with their rights which, mostly, are just bloated entitlements.

Posted by anon on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 10:28 am

Contrasted with your sense of troll entitlement to bloat this forum with your obsession on progressives.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 10:42 am
Posted by anon on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

Look it up. Public Enemy in the house.

You are the obssessed one. Stirring up shit on this website after almost every article because you have an ideological aversion to the SFBG. Do other people notice that if Guest/anon/anonymous don't post the first comment after an article that often no one else does? Look at the article about the Art Murmur. Totally quiet. I'm surprised none of the right wing trolls started it off with a racist comment about Oakland to get the flame wars started.

I know I don't spend any time seeking out right-wing sites to comment there. Why are you here? Your disapproval of anyone who isn't exactly like you or shares you lack of values based on money is similar to fundamental Christianity.

You aren't interested in honest debate. Just a miserable hateful commenter trying to subvert what could be an forum for interesting and lively discussion.

QED. Problem?

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 10:43 am

Looks like anon is down for the count. Admit defeat, anon, and get thee back to redstate.com

Posted by marcos on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 11:03 am

the SFGate site, to the point of getting his lily ass banned there.

Posted by anon on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

Just how many more times do renters have to suffer to pay for America's spoiled, deadbeat leeching ownership society?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 24, 2013 @ 4:50 am

his opponents. All you have to do is be a developer for anon to run and bend and lickspittle all over you dung-coated boots. Howzit taste anon? -- no nevermind.

The above (intelligent) commenter revealed that prices are set not on costs, but *on* *what* *the* *market* *will* *bear.* (That is directly in contradiction of Big Troll Lie #3, which purports that corporations "don't pay tax.")

Also, the above (intelligent) commenter explained that it is when developers seek and recieve heigh variances that the real money is being made.

Silly anon got all that stuff on his face and he was agreeing with his opponents. Silly anon!

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 9:29 am

If the price the market will give you does not exceed your costs then you are making a loss, which generally means declining to enter the business (e.g. not building new housing) or quitting the building (Ellis/TIC or TIC/Condo).

What both have in common is that the result is less housing, therefore more expensive housing. That is part of why rent control leads to higher housing costs.

Posted by anon on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 10:27 am

LL are not making losses in SF, they are upset because they are unable to realize paper gains.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 10:43 am

to TICS or condos with or without evoking the Ellis Act are not doing so because their properties are unprofitable. They are seeking windfall profits.

Posted by Eddie on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 10:48 am
Posted by anon on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

Government is bailing out property owners like mad. They are nanny-state scum, not risk-takers.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 24, 2013 @ 4:53 am

New housing is not rent-controlled so your argument is garbage.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 24, 2013 @ 4:52 am

I remember when gas cost .35 now it cost 4.35. where are our fuel price controls?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 6:46 am

Ask Nixon.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 7:50 am

Without it, there would be no need for an Ellis Act for one reason: Landlords would then be free to rape their tenants without restriction. They wouldn't need the Ellis Act to do it.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 24, 2013 @ 4:45 am

in place and time. SF needs the tech business to grow and build prosperity and a tax base. That means that our housing stock must reflect the direction SF is moving in, and not where it is coming from.

We need cheap (sub million dollar) home ownership possibilities and that mostly comes from existing multi-units, either as TIC's or condo's. Inevitably some people will be displaced, but often these are people who would in any event be happier elsewhere.

Oakland is affordable and very close. Or Palm Springs, as suggested in the article. But change is a constant in SF, CA and the USA.

Rent control creates these situation where LL's feel they have no choice but to invoke Ellis. No LL likes doing that but eventually it becomes inevitable. SF's housing policy is flawed because it places the entire emphasis for affordable housing onto landlords, and they cannot carry the load.

Perhaps SF could develop it's own Section 8 like voucher system, whereby TT's can have an affordable rent but the LL can still get a market rent. If the voters support paying tha taxes to fund that, we would see an end to these evictions, but not otherwise.

Posted by anon on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 7:10 pm

Nobody wants to freeze everything, now back to your strawman.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 7:19 pm

nobody would ever move. Why would that be sound public policy? Who says that the people who just happen to live in SF right now are the ones we want to live here in the future?

Cities change, and the people that live in them come and go. 'Twas ever so.

Posted by anon on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

There is plenty of tenant turnover in the city, even in rent-controlled apartments. Low vacancy and high rents have existed throughout the Bay Area for the past 30 years during the tech boom, including the other 99 towns that don't have rent control.

The TIC battle is only about greedy landlords who can make a small fortune cleaning out tenants and selling the units as condo alternatives. Even if the city builds 10,000 units over the next 10 years there will be greedy land specualtors forcing out rent-controlled tenants to convert the units to TICs since the buildings are more desirable for some purchasers compared to the newly built high-rise boxes. A housing unit in a 6-unit building in Cole Valley, or Western Addition, or Noe Valley, or Upper Haight, or the Marina, or Telegraph Hill is more appealing for many buyers, so converting these units to TIC will continue until there are no more rent controlled apartments left in 2 to 6-unit buildings.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 6:08 am

The reason is quite clear. There is untapped value in every building that is rented out at an artifically low rent. Therefore it is inevitable that the owners of those builds will seek to unlick that value by converting to TIC (which may or may not involve evictions).

Moreover, there is a huge demand for cheaper homes to buy in SF and TIC's are cheap - I know someone who bought one for 300K last year - she is ecstatic; her mortgage is under 1K a month and it's tax deductible.

TIC's don't hurt tenants - they give tenants a chance to buy.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 7:40 am

"There is untapped value in every building that is rented out at an artifically low rent."

Actually the value comes from Federally subsidized jumbo mortgages and tax write offs. Without massive support from the federal government these condos would quickly become as affordable as anywhere else.

TICs are cheap because their phenomenal risks. Typical of the real estate industry to shuck this off on people who won't play their fraudulent games.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

thinking of the cheaper conforming mortgages which are GNMA-eligible. In any event, rental buildings require loans far too big to qualify.

And interest deductions are no more deductible against rent than they are as a PPR so that's not an issue either.

TIC's aren't that risky. The biggest risk with any home is losing your job.

Please DYOR before post nonsense here.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

You're forecast appears tragically correct. San Francisco is being taken over by ultra-greedy sociopaths who don't care what happens to other human beings in any way, shape, or form. The city is being raped and ruined. That's not hyperbole either. A wave of demonic materialism is crushing what used to be lit candle of rebellion, creativity, and enlightening joy.

The much vaunted "Tech Revolution" in truth is a plunge into spiritual darkness.

Posted by San Francisco's Lovely Soul Murdered by Greed on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

more vibrant business culture?

That's never happened before, surely?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

So dead beat losers who can't compete in the free market somehow have lovely souls far better than anyone else with brains and cash? Well yeah, the lovely soul wins out over brains and cash pretty much NO WHERE….

Posted by Guest on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 7:22 pm

If they're dead beats, then they can be evicted for not paying rent. If they're current on their rent and complying with the terms of their lease and the law and enjoying the benefits of rent control AND they get to drive you all to such self depredations, then all the better for the entertainment values.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

If they are not paying market rent they are DEAD BEATS. THis city is lousy with these entitled creeps, thank god for the ELLIS ACT …..Clean the whiners out

Posted by Guest on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 8:24 pm

I hope someone calls you a dead beat when you're unfairly evicted from the home you've paid rent on for 15 years.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 7:00 am

to a place that you know you cannot really afford and then acting surprized when you get your ass Ellis'ed.

Posted by anon on Feb. 10, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

they are not deadbeats. That term applies to all the homeowners who have lowered their costs through loan mods and foreclosure moratoriums demanded by government.

Homeowners are so used to be coddled, they don't grasp contractual rights anymore.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 24, 2013 @ 5:02 am

Make them pay modern tax rates instead of Prop 13 and give up mortgage-based tax writeoffs. Scummy parasites

Posted by Guest on Feb. 24, 2013 @ 4:57 am

Who are you to say who should and should not live in San Francisco?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

He's saying who can and cannot afford to live in SF.

Subtle but important difference. His comment is descriptive, not prescriptive.

Posted by anonymous on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 5:29 pm

and now rent control works to their advantage, they can afford to live here every bit as much as people who bought at lower prices years ago. Or should we chase the owners out, too? Love it. No more Prop 13 handouts.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 24, 2013 @ 4:59 am

Who are you to decide who should and should not live in San Francisco?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

Your ability to earn good money decides that.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

To quote the late Sue Bierman when some greedy landlords were caterwauling about rent control encouraging tenancies in virtual perpetuity:

"Sometimes, some of us DIE, you know."

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 5:43 pm

She was also a fan of allowing the homeless to drink on the street. She was an enabler of the worst elements in San Francisco.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 6:18 pm

If not for Sue Bierman, San Francisco would be a homogenized backwater bereft of character and charm, anyplace USA.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 6:28 pm