July 31, 2007
2412 Harrison: A Chance To Try Before You Buy?
Perhaps it’s simply coincidence, but a plugged-in tipster forwards a craigslist ad for a short-term rental (“2 months ONLY starting August 1st”) at 2412 Harrison in a unit that just so happens to be up for sale (“must cooperate with RE agent”). Asking rent: $2,500/month.
First Published: July 31, 2007 3:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
this is a great idea for mobile people.
I once met someone who did this in a previous RE downturn.
She lived in properties until they sold. This was good for everybody:
-she got cheap rent
-the place looked "lived in" so it was more likely to sell than if it were empty or staged
-the owner got at least some income until the property sold, decreasing their holding costs... yet didn't have to worry about getting rid of a tenant when the place sold
So she'd stay at a place for a few months for very low rent, then move when the place sold, and repeated it again and again.
Posted by: ex SF-er at July 31, 2007 5:06 AM
I could understand more if the place were rented furnished, or partially furnished. Who wants to move in furniture and stuff for two months? If I were to move in for only two months it would look as if I were camping out, which probably wouldn't help the sale.
Posted by: Bink at July 31, 2007 8:56 AM
Even this one is reduced in price from five days ago:
Posted by: Anicka at July 31, 2007 8:59 AM
@ex SF-er: That would be a great arrangement, except $2500/mo is not exactly cheap :-(
Posted by: anon muss at July 31, 2007 9:01 AM
$2500/month doesn't sound cheap unless you've priced short term accomodations in the city that don't involve Craigslist. Corporate housing starts out around $3000/month. Golden Gateway apartments will do a three month lease; most of their inventory starts out unfurnished with parking at around $2200/month. If you want real housing for a few months at a time and don't want to couch-surf or live with two other people ("This is a vegan, cat-friendly house. Sign up for an interview and we'll see if there's a good fit...") then in my experience you're going to have to pay about that much in this town.
Posted by: David at July 31, 2007 9:43 AM
My apartment complex in SoMA is offering month to month leases at more than $2700 for a 1 BR (and that's for existing renters, so no doubt the "market rate" is higher.) No parking, either.
Posted by: Melinda at July 31, 2007 10:44 AM
Irrespective of the lease, doesn’t a leaseholder in San Francisco acquire tenants rights after just 28 days of continuous occupancy? If so, wouldn't that pose a problem for any potential buyers?
Posted by: Michael at July 31, 2007 11:39 AM
Great point Michael, but if the owner is planning to move in then there isn't an issue AFAIK. The tenant will have to go.
Posted by: missionite at July 31, 2007 12:59 PM
"Irrespective of the lease, doesn’t a leaseholder in San Francisco acquire tenants rights after just 28 days of continuous occupancy?"
There is no rent control on buildings built after 1979.
[Editor’s Note: Comments don’t support strikethrough, so suffice it to say that our previous note wasn’t quite right (except with regard to the cutoff date) and that "anono" knows better (see comment below). Thanks for keeping us honest. And of course, thank you for plugging in.]
Posted by: Dan at July 31, 2007 1:01 PM
From the rent control board rules: "Residential units in buildings for which a certificate of occupancy was first issued after June 13, 1979 are exempt from the San Francisco Rent Ordinance". This is not limited to apartments but applies to any residential unit whatsoever. A house, apartment or condo built after 1979 is not subject to any portion of the rent control ordinance.
Thus, this condo is not subject to the ordinance in any way. The exception Socketsite refers to is known as the Costa-Hawkins Act, which stated that as of January 1, 1999 condominiums and single family homes, THAT WERE ALREADY SUBJECT TO RENT CONTROL, were now exempted from the annual rent increase limitations as long the tennant had moved in after January 1, 1996. I guess the theory being that those who rent out single family homes and condos are not like other landlords and should not be punished with rent restrictions.
So if you buy that new condo at Infinity and decide to rent it out, you can raise the rent any amount you want every year and you can terminate the lease according to the terms of the contract without any other "just cause."
The definition of single family home in the exception is restricted such that if you live in the house and rent out any portion to someone else, the Costa-Hawkins exception does not apply, i.e. illegal inlaws are subject to rent control no matter when the tennant moved in.
Apparently the homeowner lobby was not strong enough to get owner occupied two unit buildings exempted from the rent ordinance though it seems that if you exempt single family homes and condos you should also exempt owner occupied small buildings. The "progressives" tell me this is because there are simply too many small owner occupied buildings providing housing in S.F., but I'm not buying that argument.
Posted by: anono at July 31, 2007 3:11 PM
anono, you're mostly right. But eviction controls are *almost always* in effect in San Francisco, regardless of whether the unit is subject to limitations of rental increases:
"Some tenancies that are exempt from the rent increase limitations of the Ordinance may still be subject to the eviction controls of the Ordinance, which means that tenants in these categories can only be evicted for a "just cause" reason. This includes tenancies that are eligible for an unlimited rent increase under the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act or Rules and Regulations Section 1.21 because the unit is not the tenant's principal place of residence. The eviction controls also apply to tenants whose rents are regulated by another government agency such as Section 8 vouchers, Section 8 certificate holders and the HOPWA program which provides Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS."
Posted by: Casual Observer at July 31, 2007 5:53 PM
I don't think that section applies to the loft in question, which is exempt from the rent control ordinance because it was built after 1979, and is not being rented out under Section 8 or HOPWA.
Posted by: Dan at July 31, 2007 6:02 PM
Dan...I could be wrong, but that's not what my "expert" attorneys have told me. Regardless, I wouldn't want to be dragged in front of the SF rent board (as a landlord) no matter what the situation was. I'd rather get a sponge bath from Dick Cheney.
Posted by: Casual Observer at July 31, 2007 6:13 PM
Casual Observer, it's important to remember that the units covered by Costa-Hawkins were always subject to the eviction protection, the legislation only exempted the units from the rent increase restrictions (which in my mind eviscerates the eviction protection). Any unit built after 1979 is not covered by any portion of the S.F. rent control ordinance- it may be in another low income program but obviously the owner would have chosen this route. The section you copied above says exactly that.
This loft can be rented on an month to month basis and the renter can be asked to vacate pursuant to whatever notice is required in the rental agreement.
Any attorney who tells you that you cannot evict your tennant from a condo built after 1979 without just cause is wrong. It may be difficult and time consuming to evict a tennant even without eviction protection, but it can be done.
In my building, which was built as condos but rented as apartments for the first 12-18months, all of the tenants were kicked out when the developer started to sell. Some protested that they didn't realize they weren't entitled to continue month to month. The held meetings, contacted the rent board, the tennants union etc... but to no avail. It took a few months longer than the developer wanted to get the holdouts to leave but they all had to vacate because the units were post 1979 construction.
Posted by: anono at August 1, 2007 9:27 AM