Out of place - Page 5

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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The trio recently joined tenant advocates in visiting Sup. Norman Yee, their district supervisor, to tell their stories. Yee, who is expected to be one of the swing votes on an upcoming debate about condo-conversion legislation vehemently opposed by tenant activists, reportedly listened politely but didn't say much.

As for what the next few months have in store for the Egers? "I can't really visualize the outcome," Rose says. "I can only visualize the day-to-day fight. And that's scary."

 

Fighting for a home in the Mission

By Tim Redmond

Eleven years ago, Olga Pizarro fell in love with Ocean Beach. A native of Peru who was living in Canada, she visited the Bay Area, saw the water and decided she would never leave.

Fast forward to today and she's built a home in the Mission, renting a small room in a basement flat on Folsom Street. The 55-year-old has lived in the building for eight years; polio has left her wearing a leg brace and she can't climb stairs very well, but she still rides her bike to work at the Golden Gate Regional Center. She's a sociologist by training; the walls in her room are lined with bookshelves, with hundreds of books in Spanish and English.

The place isn't fancy, and it needs work, but it's hard to find a ground-floor apartment in the Mission that's affordable on a nonprofit worker's salary. Since 2011, when she moved in, she and her three housemates have been protected by rent control. And Pizarro's been happy; "I love the neighborhood," she told me.

The letter warning of a pending eviction arrived Jan. 16. A new owner of the building wants to turn the place into tenancies in common and is prepared to throw everyone out under the Ellis Act. There's no place else in town for Pizarro to go.

"I've looked and looked," she said. "The cheapest places are $2,500 a month or more. Maybe I'll have to move out of the city."

Pizarro's building is owned by Wai Ahead, LLC, a San Francisco partnership registered to Carol Wai and Sean Lundy. I couldn't reach Wai or Lundy, but their attorney, Robert Sheppard, had plenty to say. "San Francisco is going the way of New York," he told me. "Manhattan is full of co-ops that used to be rentals, and lower-income people are moving to Brooklyn and Queens. That's happening here with Oakland and further out." He argued that TICs, like co-ops, provide home-ownership opportunities for former renters.

Sheppard, who for years represented tenants in eviction cases, said the Ellis Act is law, and America is a capitalist country, and "as long as there is a private housing market, there will be shifts of people as the housing market shifts." He agreed that it's not good for lower-income people to lose their homes, but "the poor will always be hurt by a changing economy. It's called evolution."

Pizarro told me she's shocked at how expensive housing has become in the Mission. "It's gotten so gentrified," she said. "People show up in their BMWs. It's starting to feel very isolated."

She's fighting the eviction. "I didn't intend it to be this way," she explained. "I just want to live here." Lacking any family in the area, the Mission has become her community — "and I'm frustrated by the violence of how expensive it is."

 

Affordability goes out of style

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