Supes scramble to find TIC deal

Sup. Norman Yee is in the middle of talks on the TIC bill

Some San Francisco supervisors are scrambling to find an acceptable compromise that would prevent condo-conversion legislation by Sups. Scott Wiener and Mark Farrell from becoming a bitter battle that could be a no-win situation for centrists.

Board President David Chiu is meeting with tenant groups and trying to craft an alternative to the proposal, which would allow some 2,000 tenancy in common units to convert to condominiums. Wiener says the legislation is needed to provide housing stability to people in the almost-but-not-quite-a-condo world of TICs. Tenant activists who have met with Chiu say he's discussing ways to limit speculation, which might include a five-year ban on the resale of converted condos. But that won't be anywhere near enough for the tenant groups.

In fact, tenant and landlord groups are both talking to Sup. Norman Yee, who will be one of the swing votes, and who could introduce a series of amendments to the Wiener/Farrell bill that would be more palatable to tenants.

"They've had a couple of meetings," Yee told me. "We're just examining the issues to see if there's a compromise. It would be great if we could work something out so the supervisors could feel better about voting on this."

But any deal, Ted Gullicksen of the San Francisco Tenants Union told me, would require "structural reform of the future condo-conversion process."

Yee could probably get away with that -- he's never relied on landlords or real-estate interests for his campaign money, and there aren't that many TIC owners in his district, which is largely single-family homes. This won't be a vote that will make or break his future in District 7.

On the other hand, it could be a huge issue for Sup. London Breed, who represents a district with a huge majority of tenants and the most progressive voting record in the city. Breed insists that she hasn't made up her mind on the issue, and she told me she agrees she's on the hot seat here: Much of her political and financial support came from Plan C and real-estate interests that want more condo conversions, but she would face furious policial fallout if she voted against tenants. "I am open to a compromise, but only if it's good policy for the city," she said.

Supervisors David Campos and John Avalos are strongly against the TIC bill, and it's likely that Sups. Eric Mar (who got immense support from tenants in his recent re-election) and Jane Kim (who didn't support the measure in committee) will oppose it unless it's altered in a way that tenants can accept.

Naturally, Farrell and Wiener are on the yes side, as is, almost certainly, Sup. Carmen Chu.

That leaves Breed, Chiu, Yee, and Sup. Malia Cohen -- and three of them have to vote Aye for the bill to pass. Chiu wants to run for state Assembly from the tenant-heavy side of the city, but, as always, he's looking for a way to avoid an ugly fight.

The problem is that the tenants aren't going to sign off on anything modest; if they're going to accept the conversion of 2,000 units that used to be rental housing, they're going to want to be absolutely certain it doesn't happen again -- and that there are new rules in place that halt the rampant assault on existing rent-controlled housing.

So either the folks in the center -- Yee, Breed, Chiu, and Cohen -- are going to have to force the landlords to accept some long-term reforms that they won't like, or politicans like Breed are going to be forced to take a yes or not vote that could come back to haunt them.






There is no more such a thing as a free market as there are fairies and unicorns.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 19, 2013 @ 8:07 am

So, for instance, the rental market for post-79 rentals, condo's and SFH's is "freer" than that for pre-79 multi-unit rentals.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 19, 2013 @ 9:02 am

Right, coddled in the warm embrace of favorable tax policy, yeah, much "freer."

Posted by marcos on Feb. 19, 2013 @ 9:24 am

than one who cannot.

A LL who cane vict his tenants without cause obviously has more freedom than one who cannot, except by an Ellis.

And yes, marcos, you enjoy lots of tax breaks for owning a flat which you deny an affordable renting opportunity to others with.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 19, 2013 @ 9:38 am

Yeah right - at current low interest rates the mortgage interest deduction is not a huge benefit. Maybe back in Tim's glory days when mortgage interest rates were 22% and annual property tax increases were 70% per year, but those days are loooooong gone. No one buys a property simply for the mortgage interest deduction, it's a factor, sometimes greater and sometimes less, but it's never THE deciding factor. Witness the large number of cash sales in the Bay Area - if everyone were interested in that golden mortgage interest deduction why aren't more people taking out mortgages vs. using proceeds from options? Not all cash sales are investors either - not even a majority.

And regardless - we SHOULD make responsible home ownership a policy goal in this country. Notice the emphasis on the word "responsible."

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 19, 2013 @ 11:48 am

the tax deductibility of mortgage interest and both countries have had booming home price inflation. It's made little difference.

Oh, and look, SF RE home prices are booming again. Lukcy for marcos he's not a grubby little tenant anymore, but rather is exploiting SF's shortage of homes:

Posted by Guest on Feb. 19, 2013 @ 12:04 pm

"Yeah right - at current low interest rates the mortgage interest deduction is not a huge benefit."

Without jumbo mortgage support from the federal government real estate in San Francisco would become quite affordable.

- NAHB: 17.2 million homes not eligible for federal funding if loan limit drops -

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

loans is negligible. As long as the buyer has 20% and in the case of non-conforming 30 year mortgages, 25% down - there's very little difference if you amortize the loan long-term.

It's interesting to view your comment through the lens of "I want to destroy everyone's high property values so I can then afford to buy a house." You sound like a great person - maybe your neighbor's home will be destroyed in an earthquake and they'll choose to move out of SF and you can buy that? One can always hope...

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 3:40 pm