In addition to Supervisor Daly’s proposed legislation to limit rent increases on rent controlled units based on tenant income, expand renters’ rights to add roommates and cap “banked” rent increases, San Francisco Supervisor Avalos is expected to introduce legislation today to extend eviction protections to non-rent control tenants.

Avalos’ proposal is aimed at protecting people in foreclosed homes who are being evicted by banks, he said. Last year, 667 foreclosures occurred in the city, and at least a quarter of those had renters living in them, according to the Assessor-Recorder’s Office.

No word on the percentage of those tenants in that quarter of properties that have actually faced eviction. And of those, the percentage that weren’t under rent control.
Note To Daly (And Others): Let The Market Take Care Of Itself [SocketSite]
S.F. seeks to strengthen renter protections [SFGate]

Recent Articles

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Jim

    Figures….he and his wife lives in one of these units….what as ass!

  2. Posted by ok

    Please…

  3. Posted by Conifer

    This further confiscatory legislation confirms the two fundamental prescriptions for a good and quiet life in San Francisco:
    1. Do not own any residential rental units within the City and County of San Francisco, regardless of the date built.
    2. Aside from your own house, make all of your residential property investments in another county, state or country.

  4. Posted by fd

    I agree with Conifer – private property rights in this town count for nothing. We bought a 3 unit building in 2004 and live in one of the units. Rent control is killing us because our tenants are so far below market. But the latest proposals just take the cake. Allowing tenants to just move people in at will is fundamentally wrong – additional people cause additional wear and tear on the units, increase water and garbage bills, none of which can be passed on to the tenant. And my mortgage is more than one third of my take home pay – but I don’t see anyone offering to tell the bank that my mortgage payment gets reduced during this recession.
    I would advise anyone considering buying rental property in SF to think long and hard about whether you want to be limited in what you can do with your own property.

  5. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    I do not see how this could possibly be constitutional.

  6. Posted by anon

    We bought a 3 unit building in 2004 and live in one of the units. Rent control is killing us because our tenants are so far below market.
    You didn’t research any of this before buying the property? Did you think that rent control was going away?
    I’m sorry, I have no sympathy for landlords who bought after 1979 and then complain about not being able to raise rents – you knew the rules when you bought. Why did you pay so much?

  7. Posted by resp

    i agree with anon. no one has the right to complain about his tenants rights that were in place when the building was purchased.
    what’s criminal about Daly is he’s always trying to change the rules after the game’s started.
    fd you should consider tenant buyouts, making their lives miserable, or the Ellis act if you really want to make a change there.

  8. Posted by SFHawkguy

    I’m no Daly fan but boy does he get people riled up.
    1) So what if Daly lives in a below-market-rate unit or rent controlled unit or other “protected” unit. I think it’s refreshing to have a politician that isn’t crazy rich. We have the reverse problem–too many Bloombergs and Newsoms running our cities.
    2) As Phil Graham would say, what a bunch of WHIIIIIINERS about your prescious property rights. I’m sorry FD, but I don’t feel sorry for you. You over payed on a piece of property it’s not your “right” to have your mortgage covered. In fact, as the data released yesterday show, we live in the most expensive rental market in the country. So I wouldn’t be holding my breath if I were you expecting some sucker to pay your mortgage for you. And also, there are indeed government welfare programs for those of you underwater on your mortgages–you can try to get a new FHA loan, there is the mortgage interest deduction, and there they government is giving 8K to any buyer to pass on to you if you want to sell your home. Renters’ property rights are being violated by subsidizing mortgage holders.
    3) The property rights being violated are the banks’ property rights. Not yours–the underwater “owner”. It is attempting to prevent someone signing a mortgage and then the landlord breaching his contract with the bank–after which the bank will come in and take the home back and kick the renter out. There are already laws punishing “property owners” from attempting to make these types of fraudulent leases but I guess this is a proposal to further protect the tenant in a situation of a underwater property “owner” reaping a windfall from an unsuspecting renter. Plus, after the property owner gets his windfall of rental income and stops paying the mortgage it may be handed over to the taxpayer so that we collectively bear the burden. So not so much a violation of your prescious property rights. By the way, I would be open to hearing any sort of lease language that would protect a tenant from this situation (specific provision for damages–say 3 months rent–against landlord in event of default?).

  9. Posted by jamie

    My biggest criticism of the so-called progressives on the Board of Supervisors is that they tend to spend a lot of time working to create benefits or to spend money for a select group of people – to create privileges on the backs and hard work of others. Who is running in District 6 for 2010? Is Debra Walker going to cakewalk through?

  10. Posted by ex SF-er

    perhaps I misunderstood fd, but it seems to me that their argument was primarily against allowing tenants to move in extra roomates, and not the bank foreclosure issue.
    although I agree that it seems like fd didn’t do his/her homework on ROI possibilities on a rent-controlled unit, it doesn’t negate the very real point that extra tenants=extra cost for a landowner.
    I don’t agree with any of these:
    limit rent increases on rent controlled units based on tenant income.
    Why? what if the tenant loses their job? do they get to live rent free then??? what if the tenant decides to go from DINK to Single income family? is the rent reduced?
    why should the investment property owner need to adjust their already rent-controlled rates downward (or less upward) due to the circumstances of the renter????
    expand renters’ rights to add roommates
    why? fd brings up the fact that extra roomates equal extra costs for the owner. plus, shouldn’t the owner of a property be able to decide if they want 2 people vs 3 in a property?
    cap “banked” rent increases
    why again? if rent increases are BANKED, that means that the renter benefited from BELOW rent-controlled rates for a period of time.
    if you take away the bankability of rent increases, then you’ll get all units going up to max allowed every year, as the owner would fear not being able to use the banked rent increases later.

    I have more sympathy for evictions of tenants in foreclosed upon homes… but not sure how you sell a foreclosure if it has a renter in there that can’t be removed… would we just let foreclosures go sky high? who eats the loss if the renter’s rent is lower than maintenance costs of the house and servicing costs of the mortgage? the bank? taxpayers?
    just wondering.

  11. Posted by jamie

    My 2nd biggest criticism of the so-called progressives in this town is that they use divisive politics to win elections just like the Rush Limbaughs and other wastes of skin out there in extremist land. While anti-gay fears tend to work in many places, the progressives try to separate and create battle lines based on socioeconomic differences. Hate is hate … I don’t care how the progressives try to package it. Ask the Union Square merchants with the broken windows on May Day … was that a political action or an act of hate? Both?

  12. Posted by rr

    The SFGate article’s logic (and perhaps, via the transitive, Avalos’) is a bit confusing:
    The fourth and latest proposal, expected to be formally introduced today by Supervisor John Avalos, would give eviction protections to tenants in non-rent-controlled units – about 17,000 of them citywide, according to advocates. Currently, landlords can evict tenants in rent-controlled buildings for 14 “just causes” – among them failing to pay rent or if the landlord wants to move in – but those in buildings constructed after 1979 can be kicked out for any reason.
    Avalos’ proposal is aimed at protecting people in foreclosed homes who are being evicted by banks, he said. Last year, 667 foreclosures occurred in the city, and at least a quarter of those had renters living in them, according to the Assessor-Recorder’s Office.
    How many foreclosures happened in SFHs that were built since 1979, resulting in how many tenant evictions? Is the Chron being liberal with the word ‘home’, using it to mean both houses and apartments? If so, and a 12 unit building is foreclosed, is that 12 foreclosures or 1?
    Also, no SFHs in the city are rent controlled. I’m not sure whether pre/post 1979 matters in that case for eviction protection.

  13. Posted by Trip

    To MR’s question, challenges to rent control ordinances have not fared well. This one looks like it may well cross the line, particularly the part suspending or limiting rent increases that are a “hardship” to tenants. In California, here is the test of constitutionality:
    “The provisions are within the police power if they are reasonably calculated to eliminate excessive rents and at the same time provide landlords with a just and reasonable return on their property. However, if it is apparent from the face of the provisions that their effect will necessarily be to lower rents more than could reasonably be considered to be required for the measure’s stated purpose, they are unconstitutionally confiscatory.”
    I think someone in fd’s position who is (presumably) renting at a loss would have a shot at an “as applied” challenge even to the current rent control ordinance. But lawyers are expensive [and let's all be thankful for that] ;)

  14. Posted by viewlover

    so if you own a home and it is foreclosed you get kicked out, but if you rent the same home and it gets foreclosed you get to stay? Hmm, why the discimination? The City should protect all residents, they should pass a law to stop foreclosures all through the City. It’s residents should be immune to all economic cycles. We are residents of San Francisco and WE ARE DIFFERENT!

  15. Posted by Really?

    So all of you who live in District 6 as I do, don’t bitch about your elected official. Work for a candidate NOW. I am working with and will support Matt Drake. Unfortunately Rob Black is tainted beyond repair but he is a good guy. Yes Jamie I totally agree that the so-called progressives are as bad or worse that Karl Christian Rove during the elections. They truly “hate” anyone who is one centimeter removed from them. I call them the Cult of Chris…either you are with them 110% or you are called a fascist.

  16. Posted by SFHawkguy

    Jamie,
    Progressive economics is hate? On par with hatred of gays? I’m sorry but you’re in Rush Limbaugh (or Joe the Plumber) propaganda territory. The idea that a few renter-friendly laws represent some nefarious socialist agenda, and a hate-filled agenda no-less, is ridiculous.
    In fact, if we made a ledger of the amount of government welfare that “homeowners” get and the amount of welfare that “renters” get it’s not even close. Homeowners and the bankers that thrive off of them are the true protected class the politicians are looking out for (actually–it’s more the bankers the pols are really protecting). Both parties have encouraged home ownership and created policies that gave banks and homeowners free money thanks to the taxpayers.
    Rent control and eviction-protection and other renter-friendly protections may not always be good (I’m not a fan of rent-control–the other measures are ok), but spare me the Randian wingnut cries of socialism.
    We live in an oligarghy were corporate and banking interests own our government and have oppressed the people and made them debt slaves. The banks are the welfare queens and we are collectively the victims. Changing a few laws to protect the little guy (or at least attempting to), whether it is through bankruptcy reform via cramdown laws, preventing banks from charging usurious rates, or renter protections like the ones proposed here, is not an assault on capitalism. The right-winger supply-side corporatists killed capitalism a long time ago.
    If people are squawking about the “hate” being directed towards the bankers then I have to say, Bring it On. More like that please.

  17. Posted by jj

    Ain’t democracy great? You don’t like it, move to China where landlords can do any darn thing they please. Or, that’s what somebody said on a different thread, I think.

  18. Posted by sam

    Am I missing something? Tenants in non-rent controlled units are paying market-rate rent. So they can move to similar units and pay similar rent. So what’s the problem? As long as the tenants get the deposit and other stuff back the tenants don’t lose much beside moving expense and maybe a couple days while moving. So make the banks compensate the moving expense to the tenants and we’re all good. Why make such a deal out of this tiny issue?

  19. Posted by shza

    increase water and garbage bills, none of which can be passed on to the tenant
    That is false. Most renters pay water and/or garbage. We currently pay water. At my last rental, we paid garbage.

  20. Posted by anon

    ^^^Yeah, there’s certainly nothing preventing the landlord from having the tenants pay for that stuff.

  21. Posted by The Solution

    End RC! In its place use Vouchers!

  22. Posted by Buy High, Sell Low

    I continue to believe that if rent control serves a public good, then it should be paid for by the public. I also believe rent control would be abolished in one election cycle if this were the case.
    But of course, I know the rules so I just won’t ever buy a rental unit subject to them which apparently now means anywhere in SF.

  23. Posted by david

    I don’t like subsidizing bank losses either, but people are responsible for taking on debt, not the banks. No one puts a gun to someone’s head and make’s them take out a mortgage. A little personal responsibility please.

  24. Posted by don

    It is pathological selfishness to insist on government mortgage subsidies and property tax protections and write offs and then insist people less well off live by the dictates of a criminally manipulated market. Renter protections don’t even begin to offset the market distortions caused by prop 13 and jumbo mortgage subsidies and you all know it. Many real estate speculators are still in a state of bubble madness obviously.

  25. Posted by geekgrrl

    Umm, I’m confused.
    “San Francisco Supervisor Avalos is expected to introduce legislation today to extend eviction protections to non-rent control tenants.”
    I thought all renters in SF were covered by eviction controls, they’re just not all covered by rent control. Aren’t rent control and eviction control 2 separate things?
    If I wanted to buy a single family house and it had tenants, I could raise the rent since there is no rent control and hope they would move out as opposed to having to do an OMI which requires paying relocation fees under Prop H (which I think is so ridicuously absurd and I’m a renter).

  26. Posted by anonn

    The roommates thing is patently ridiculous, and pure Daly.

  27. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “so if you own a home and it is foreclosed you get kicked out, but if you rent the same home and it gets foreclosed you get to stay?”
    Could a NOD holding homeowner rent his/her own house to themselves and get protection from eviction by wearing the “renter” hat ? Seems like an interesting loophole for troubled owners to protect themselves.

  28. Posted by tjg

    I wonder what arden van upp has to say about this?

  29. Posted by steve

    the dictates of a criminally manipulated market
    OK, don, I’ll support all of the following:
    no government backed mortages
    no mortgage interest deduction
    no property tax
    no rent control
    Since you are against market distortions, I suspect you will as well?

  30. Posted by LMRiM

    don is right, and so is steve, and I agree with both.
    The only caveat, don, is that using the distortions of rent control and other governmental distortions almost to “get back” at the distorted owner occupied market does have the added costs of creating all sorts of other distortions arising from the intersection of these policies.
    It’s a total mess when politicians get involved in trying to create desired “outcomes” (as opposed to just impartially enforcing a transparent and unchanging set of rules). Just look at what a laugh the situation is today in SF: old widows living all alone in 6000 sq ft mansions in St Francis paying $1500 per year in prop tax, “market rate” tenants paying $3K/mo while others are paying $1K/mo for equivalent places, condo buyers overpaying to subsidize BMR slackers and slush funds for politicians to placate their special interest wedge groups, everyone complaining about the lack of “affordable housing” while all are simultaneously trying to prop up housing prices, etc., etc. It’s a total joke, but a good environment for traders I guess.

  31. Posted by don

    Residential real estate skyrocketed in value in 1978 soon after prop 13 passed as the future tax savings were discounted straight to the bottom line. Rent control was enacted soon after prop 13 to circumvent the sudden 100% and 200% rent increases and mass evictions that followed. I would say that if prop 13 were repealed the sudden collapse in the overvalued, overhyped and criminally manipulated real estate market would make rent control as politically unviable as prop 13 made it politically viable. The real estate criminals could probably keep their obscene and immoral government welfare jumbo mortgage subsidies because if prop 13 went away rent control would be badly weakened.

  32. Posted by Jamie

    Yes, I’m saying that the so-called progressives use divisive politics. I laugh every time I hear a pompous politician compare themselves to Barack Obama or Howard Dean. Barack Obama and Howard Dean don’t stupe to blaming “those people over there are responsible for your problems – and they should pay for it!” … but the sorry ass so-called progressives make that their main rallying call. Anti-gay divisiveness has won several elections in other towns, and an socioeconomic-divisiveness is the rallying call of so-called progressives in San Francisco – and yes, those methods are hateful and should be stopped.

  33. Posted by viewlover

    Jamie, you don’t have to wait to hear progressive politicians, just read this thread, some renters already think the property owners are in league with the devil.

  34. Posted by LongTimeRenter

    ex-SFer, you called it exactly on the unintended consequences of capping banked increases. My landlord just raised my extremely below market rent. She hadn’t raised the rent in at least 5-7 years and notified me that she would raise it every year from now on. There’s no question that the stupidvisors caused her to do this in advance of these dopey proposals.
    I hate that every politician and juvenile transplant to SF assumes all renters are poor and are entitled to cheap rent forever at the expense of their landlord. These whiny renters need to grow up and support themselves and stop assuming people with more money and/or property are evil.

  35. Posted by steve

    The real estate criminals could probably keep their obscene and immoral government welfare jumbo mortgage subsidies because if prop 13 went away rent control would be badly weakened.
    Don’t give up so easily, don. I’m all for getting rid of the obscene immoral jumbo rates as well; let’s just eliminate property tax at the same time. There is no reason we can’t move to residency based fees for city services. That way, when the voters vote, they’ll understand who will bear the costs of the proposals they are mandating.

  36. Posted by don

    If it were just us we could probably work something out, Steve, although most people who can afford a mortgage don’t think 1% or so is too onerous of a tax burden unless real estate conmen have taken control of the market and are fraudulently inflating property values like Dutch tulipmaniacs.

  37. Posted by don

    http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/05/victoria_gotti_recession_victi.html
    Victoria Gotti Is the New ‘Face’ of Subprime Debt
    5/12/09 at 12:00 PM
    Comment 6Comment
    Here in America, certain issues don’t get enough attention unless they have a “face”: A celebrity who makes whatever the problem is seem less common and human and icky. Cybil Shepard, for instance, became the face of I.B.S. when she bravely admitted she had it for Zelnorm. Sally Field has become the face of weak bones through her work with Boniva, Farrah Fawcett is the face of anal cancer, Michael J. Fox is the face of Parkinson’s, and Activia spokeswoman Jamie Lee Curtis is the de facto face of constipation, the list goes on and on. But despite the best efforts of the Times, no one personality has emerged as the face of the subprime mortgage crisis … until today.
    Victoria Gotti, daughter of the late Gambino crime boss and former star of the reality-television show Growing Up Gotti, is well behind on her McMansion’s McMortgage, it turns out, and is about to be foreclosed upon….
    …We know it feels like a booby prize now, but in reality this is probably a good thing for Gotti, who is, with her taut, fake-tanned skin, surgically enhanced features, and freakishly flaxen hair, the perfect spokeswoman for the overindulgence and overextension of the Boom. Really, just add some lowlights and contrition, hook her up with Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo for a couple of public service announcements, and it could revitalize her whole career. There really are opportunities in this market.

  38. I miss Growing up Gotti…..that was some solid trash entertainment. Oh well, guess I will have to settle for the Real Housewives of New Jersey.

  39. Posted by jon

    No,Yurt.
    We, here on SS, are so lucky as to have “Dueling with Fluj” as a regular feature.
    Low comedy at its finest.

  40. Posted by ester

    As the owner of a condo and a TIC unit in the city, I have been following these new proposals.
    The only real potential threat, as far as my situation is concerned, is the limitation of rent incrase over 1/3 of tenant’s income.
    I just need to be more selective going forward.
    the downside of these “tenant protection” legislation is, actually, making it harder for people who are mid-aged (and over), not perfectly healthy, not exactly well-off to find a place.

  41. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    SFHawkguy wrote:
    > Progressive economics is hate? On par with hatred of gays?
    I am not a Progressive or a Conservative, but if I had to pick I would say that there is more “hate” in the Progressive tent than the Conservative tent…
    > I’m sorry but you’re in Rush Limbaugh (or Joe the Plumber)
    > propaganda territory. The idea that a few renter-friendly
    > laws represent some nefarious socialist agenda, and a
    > hate-filled agenda no-less, is ridiculous.
    My problem with rent control is that it is the only law I know that makes just a few people give up thousands a month in income to help just another few people. I’ve always thought that if a city wants to help poor people pay rent that we should tax all the people in the city to help them (like we do for everything else). Rent control seems so normal, but if we had “food control” (where residents could go in to small grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops and get 1979 prices it would seem ridiculous)…
    > In fact, if we made a ledger of the amount of government welfare
    > that “homeowners” get and the amount of welfare that “renters”
    > get it’s not even close.
    I agree with you that the government should not subsidize homeowners, but since renters tend to have less money overall than homeowners they end up using the majority of “government welfare” (e.g. not a lot of homeowners getting food stamps)…
    > Homeowners and the bankers that thrive off of them are the true
    > protected class the politicians are looking out for (actually–it’s
    > more the bankers the pols are really protecting). Both parties have
    > encouraged home ownership and created policies that gave banks
    > and homeowners free money thanks to the taxpayers.
    Politicians always try and give voters (and campaign contributors) what they want, so we will continue to have left wing nut balls in SF ban Styrofoam cups and increase rent control and right wing nut balls fight to “protect” marriage and fight any restrictions on hunting on private ranches (while Randian nut balls are fighting to get rid of all laws)…
    > The right-winger supply-side corporatists killed capitalism a long time ago.
    The people who killed capitalism are not “right wingers” or “left wingers” and give to people in both parties…

  42. Posted by anon

    My problem with rent control is that it is the only law I know that makes just a few people give up thousands a month in income to help just another few people. I’ve always thought that if a city wants to help poor people pay rent that we should tax all the people in the city to help them (like we do for everything else). Rent control seems so normal, but if we had “food control” (where residents could go in to small grocery stores, restaurants and coffee shops and get 1979 prices it would seem ridiculous)…
    Ok, a few problems with this. Rent control was established in 1979. Everyone who has bought a property since then has KNOWN the rules. So…unless the property owners from that time refinanced a property and took cash out, everyone IS paying an equivalent price (renters and landlords, since landlords can pass along increases with upgrades to the apartments). And every building is going to have some tenants from years after 1979.
    Food is not a valid comparison, because prices for the inputs of food change each year. Assuming that someone has owned a building from 1979, the price of the original input hasn’t changed. Any upgrades to the property allow price increases in rent. Anybody who has bought a building since then should have done due diligence to find out what their revenue would look like AND NOT BOUGHT THE BUILDING if the price to buy required a price input ABOVE what the expected revenue would cover.
    This isn’t to say that I agree with rent control, but any landlord complaining that it takes money from them is typically full of !@$#. RC makes the market less efficient, but it’s one of the rules of the game – therefore it CANNOT “take” money from anyone, because that money was never there for anyone to take. It’s like a massage parlor complaining that someone is taking the money that he could make on prostitution – the practice is illegal, so no money is there to be taken (legally). My tip for potential property owners – try learning a bit before investing.

  43. Posted by anonn

    Low comedy at its finest.
    Oooh. Another vocabulary challenged jab!
    http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=%22low+comedy%22&fr=yfp-t-501&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8
    (for future reference, jon)

  44. Posted by Joe

    Low comedy is a type of comedy characterized by “horseplay,” slapstick and/or farce.
    Ha! Jon nailed it with precisely the right term.

  45. Posted by anonn

    Oh, I think not, Joe. Low comedy’s elements — farce, horseplay, slapstick — are all visual forms of comedy. What we do on here is trade witticisms, verbally. Now, you can go ahead and find anything not witty at all, and that would be fine, but it’s the medium. We don’t interact in person. Regardless of your feelings about my wit, you are as always more than welcome to not pile on whenever you see a random person say anything negative toward me.

  46. Posted by ester

    anon,
    You have been a bitter rental for quite some time now, so I understand your position on all these rental-control legislations.
    The problem with your arguement is that the laws changed 10 times since 1979, and it looks like someone is trying to expand it again TODAY.
    When I bought in 05, 06, I did not know someone would attempt to change it again in 09!!!.
    that being said, no regret, simply because the rent I get to charge is HIGH in the city, so much higher than south bay.
    I just need to be more selective when picking tenant. And I hate to discriminate, but I feel I had to. That is where my bitterness comes from

  47. Posted by anon

    ester, I don’t rent. Feel free to explain how the laws adapted in 05 and 06 affected your bottom line in unexpected ways. Most people only complain about their inability to jack up rates to market on old tenants – that has been part of the law since 1979.

  48. Posted by anon

    Sorry ester, misread your post about laws being changed in 05 and 06.
    Just FYI – I think these new laws are unecessary and will probably not happen in the long-term (the part that you’re worried about doesn’t pass the constitutional sniff test to me).

  49. Posted by don

    I think one of the arguments for limiting rent increases based on tenant income is that New York phases out rent control if gross household income exceeds $175,000 for two years, and if you can means test rent control based on tenant income you can also means test for rent increases based on tenant income.
    Seems fair enough to me. Cry baby millionaires have been screaming for years that they should be able to means test rent control. Talk about incentive to select tenants….

  50. Posted by Buy High, Sell Low

    “New York phases out rent control if gross household income exceeds $175,000 for two years, and if you can means test rent control based on tenant income you can also means test for rent increases based on tenant income.”
    What an utterly reasonable and sane thing to do…
    Never happen here…

  51. Posted by FormerAptBroker

    anon:
    > Food is not a valid comparison, because prices for
    > the inputs of food change each year.
    The cost of owning and operating an apartment also changes every year (did you think that PG&E, the Water Dept. , Trash Collection, Managers, Painters, Roofers and Drywall guys all charged apartment owners 1979 prices?)
    > Assuming that someone has owned a building from
    > 1979, the price of the original input hasn’t changed.
    The cost of the building has not changed, so would it be fair to have “food price control” for farmers and restaurant owners that have owned their farm or restaurant since 1979?
    > Any upgrades to the property allow price increases
    > in rent.
    The rent board will fight to call most upgrades “maintenance” (that can not be passed on) or fight to consider some “upgrades” excessive (that can’t be passes on). On average if an owner of a 10 unit building pays $20K in upgrades he can (after a long fight) plan on getting an extra $20 a month rent per unit (of the people that don’t fight it and hide income) for the next 10 years…

  52. Posted by anon

    FAB – you bring up some good points, but it comes down to this – if a person owned an apartment building before 1979, do you honestly think that their expenses have increased more than their rental income + building appreciation have been? (even assuming the completely ridiculous notion that ALL units have a 1979 rent base)

  53. Posted by Huh?

    Just a point to add to the festivities here…last year, I had a close friend, a tenant who together with a partner, purchased his rental unit from the bank after it was foreclosed on by said bank. He paid about $100k below the landlord’s purchase price.
    Any other stories like that that would change the slant of the Daly legislation?
    There are a lot of similar renters — making well over $150k in income that might bite at the chance to purchase their foreclosed units…no?

  54. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    I have a friend who did the same thing via a short sale. Saved over $220k vs. the prior owner.

  55. Posted by Dan

    “Rent control was established in 1979. Everyone who has bought a property since then has KNOWN the rules.”
    Owner occupied 2-4 unit buildings were not covered by rent control until a change in the law, in 1994. This fundamentally changed the nature of rent control in SF.

  56. Posted by ester

    oops, that is a winning strategy.
    have a friend buy a property, rent to you for $25 a month, and then go default…..

  57. Posted by don

    If it is fair for NY to means test rent control it is fair for SF to means test rent increases. If a tenant makes below poverty wages then rent increases and evictions should be banned.
    It is a phenomenally bad business strategy to price your services above what people can afford to pay, but that is the business model for real estate in SF. Fools and their money as they say….

  58. Posted by jj

    Unfortunately, Ester is right. One of the biggest problems with all the rent laws of SF is they lead to discrimination: don’t rent to anyone nearing “protected tenant” age, don’t rent to anyone who looks like they are going to be here a very long time, don’t rent to anyone in any industry that is having a downturn because they won’t pay rent and you’ll never get them out, etc. SF govt is full of progressive geniuses.

  59. Posted by don

    In a city where less than 10% of the residents can afford to own what makes anyone except the geniuses who invented the current SF real estate market think it is politically viable to make rent control LESS strict????
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/ontheblock/detail?entry_id=40104&tsp=1
    SF is most expensive city for home ownership in U.S.
    The cost of buying a home in San Francisco relative to local wages makes it the most expensive city in the country for home ownership, according to a Center for Housing Policy report.
    The report, which looks at wages for roughly 60 occupations compared to home prices and rents in 200 metropolitan areas in the U.S., found that San Francisco, where the 2008 median home price was $575,000, was the most expensive place for home ownership, topping New York (the second runner up), San Jose (the third most expensive) and Santa Cruz and Honolulu (which tied for fourth most expensive).
    The study also suggests that workers in low-wage occupations — such as construction laborers and long-haul truckers — probably can’t even afford to rent two-bedroom apartments in “more expensive areas.”
    That’s probably true of many parts of the Bay Area — a two-bedroom in San Francisco will easily cost a couple thousand dollars per month, which would be unaffordable for anyone with a household income of less than $60,000. But then again, there’s always Newark.

  60. Posted by viewlover

    what makes anyone, except the geniuses who invented the current SF real estate market, think it is politically viable to make rent control LESS strict????
    Perhaps it is the notion that, naive as it may seem, laws are not supposed to be passed in an activist (mob mentality) manner. Maybe the idea that laws are not supposed to change with the economic weather or POLITICAL tides and adversely impact any segment of the population, including landlords. What many of us learned in high-school was that our nations laws were there to protect our inate basic freedoms , which San Francisco has conveniently confused as entitlements…for all who rent.
    But in the end, it all comes back around. Ester is right on. The very people that are supposed to benefit from rent control, the less fortunate, are the ones that pay the price; while the renter occupied apartments continue to decay, but that apparently has its charm. I wonder who the real winners are and how much more the golden goose can take.

  61. Posted by LMRiM

    Viewlover, you’re right about rent control. On balance and over time, renters are hurt far worse by rent control than are helped. That doesn’t change the fact, though, that at any given moment a particular distortion created by government is privileging one group of people (say, long-time renters in the case of rc, long-time owners in the case of prop 13) against another.
    Voters are susceptible to populist pitches, and vague ideas of “fairness” that in practice create an unwieldy mess in which the savvy scam the foolish. It’s not going to change – one can only “surf” the distortions created to the extent that one can read the tea leaves. IMO the answer was what you alluded to – a fair, clearly delineated ex ante system in which government sets the rules and adjudicates disputes imparially and yet does not get overly involved in creating “outcomes”. We’re way too far gone from that ideal to come back now I think, so it’ sgoing to be every man for himself when the system blows (which will happen within a generation, guaranteed).

  62. Posted by don

    It is nice of the landlord activists to be concerned about the harm that rent control does to tenants, but we should let tenants decide for themselves, as they do with every rent control referendum, what is good for tenants.
    I hear the argument a lot that rent control drives rents up, but rents in non-rent control cities like Palo Alto have gone up even more than SF during the dot com and credit and housing bubbles.
    When you make comments such as, “What many of us learned in high-school was that our nations laws were there to protect our inate basic freedoms , which San Francisco has conveniently confused as entitlements…for all who rent” you imply that rent control is not lawful. Are you really that out of touch? The US Supreme Court validated rent control years ago and not a single law that benefits tenants goes unchallenged is court by radical activist mob mentality landlord groups. In fact, pro landlord superior court judges in San Francisco routinely invalidate new legal protections for tenants, who then have to appeal to higher courts to have them declared lawful. Happens all the time.

  63. Posted by don

    It is nice of the landlord activists to be concerned about the harm that rent control does to tenants, but we should let tenants decide for themselves, as they do with every rent control referendum, what is good for tenants.
    I hear the argument a lot that rent control drives rents up, but rents in non-rent control cities like Palo Alto have gone up even more than SF during the dot com and credit and housing bubbles.
    When you make comments such as, “What many of us learned in high-school was that our nations laws were there to protect our inate basic freedoms, which San Francisco has conveniently confused as entitlements…for all who rent” you imply that rent control is not lawful, yet the US Supreme Court validated rent control years ago and not a single law that benefits tenants goes unchallenged in court by radical activist mob mentality landlord groups. In fact, pro landlord superior court judges in San Francisco routinely invalidate new legal protections for tenants, who then have to appeal to higher courts to have them declared lawful. Happens all the time.

  64. Posted by don

    A handful of sadistic vulture attorneys who enjoy making a living evicting people have stacked the superior courts in san francisco with landlord activist judges who force tenants to exhaustively appeal every tenant protection, sometimes as high as the US Supreme Court, where we routinely win.
    Landlord mobs claim rent control is unfair, yet all tenants ask is fairness and the same protections under the law that landlords already enjoy. If a handful of major commercial land owners can push through Prop 13 it is only fair that renters obtain the protection of rent control when property values spike upward from amortized tax savings.
    If landlords can bank rent increases for 10 years tenants should be able to bank rent reductions going back 10 years.
    If it is constitutional and lawful to means test rent control, it should be constitutional and lawful to means test rent increases as well.
    When tenants seek the same legal protections that are already enjoyed by landlords, we are branded as radicals under mob rule. But what does that say about you????

  65. Posted by LMRiM

    I know you weren’t directing those comments against me, don, but I do want to reinforce the point that I am very against BOTH prop 13 and rent control. Both are horrendous distortions in that they create “entitlements” that pit later cohorts against earlier cohorts. They also contribute to zombification of the market (long term property owners are reluctant to sell, thereby losing their nice tax subsidy, while conversely, long term renters are reluctant to give up the rent controlled apartment even when circumstances change and they might like to change living arrangement) and all sorts of resultant marginal pricing distortions.
    Short term, people vote in their immediate interests. Therefore, even though I understand how rent control in the long term harms renters’ interests, I think it is totally rational and understandable why renters choose to vote increased rent protection rules now that they are facing a market in which those rules alreadu exist. And really I have no problem with all that.
    It’s probably not a coincidence that the areas with the highest apartment rental prices (in particular, NYC, SF and Boston – at least historically) have very high rents relative to incomes. It’s really not fair to look at a place like Palo Alto because of generally higher average income there, when comparing rents with, say, SF generally. I will say that living in no rent control Tiburon – which I am pretty sure has median income about twice SF’s median income – is relatively cheap for renters, especially in view of the great public schools that you get “for free” (because the long term property owners are paying no tax thanks to the prop 13 subsidy they enjoy at the expense of the recent buying cohort).
    I don’t get grouchy about all this. I’m very happy to exploit the distortion, just as existing renters should be happy to vote in their interests to strengthen rent control protections. Tthe poor sucker who paid $1.3M for the house across the street from mine (same house essentially) is paying for my kids’ education through his taxes, while his “equity” is evaporating, and a huge portion of his income (relative to the rental equivalent price as demonstrated by the cost of my rental property) is siphoned monthly straight into the pockets of teh banksters. Magnificent.

  66. Posted by LMRiM

    “It’s probably not a coincidence that the areas with the strong rent controls (in particular, NYC, SF and Boston – at least historically)”
    Sorry – really need an edit function :)

  67. Posted by Trip

    “If it is constitutional and lawful to means test rent control, it should be constitutional and lawful to means test rent increases as well.”
    Two completely different issues there, don. I am not an extreme opponent to rent control and agree that it can be a reasonable counter to all the laws favoring landlords and driving rents higher. But the landlord owns the building, and private property rights are a central tenet of our Constitution. The tenant does not own the property.
    Rent control is only constitutional if it serves a legitimate police powers purpose (making sure the populace has somewhere to live by eliminating excessive rents) and permitting landlords a fair and reasonable return on their property. Generally “excessive rents” are simply not a problem for a well-heeled tenant, so “means testing rent control” is perfectly sensible. On the other hand, if “means testing rent increases” results in the landlord does not obtaining a just and reasonable return, it is unconstitutional. It is also just bad policy, imho, as it would result in landlords refusing to rent to anyone other than well-heeled tenants in the first place.

  68. Posted by viewlover

    Don, I’m not implying anything of the sort. You are just projecting your perverted sense of entitlement. What I am saying is that the changes that are being proposed are one sided and one sided only. And that there should not be any laws that are allowed to change just because they are popular without protecting the individual. Same thing with gay marriage,I’m sure you are familiar that that debate. It is about individual rights, and not being singled out by a majority. And that is exactly that the BOS is doing by strengthening the RC laws in favor of tenants, with no regard as to how it impacts the old lady that just happens to own a two unit building and the rent subsidizes her all too fixed income. You are a fool if you think that all landlords are Citi-apartments.
    For example, allowing additional roomates, which is a an additional cost to the landlord is certainly not on your radar screen. Not only does this increase the cost to the landlords, it more than likely closes the window for a rent increase when the original renter leaves and the other inherits the “rent” instead of paying market rents like everyone else, the market rent that the landlord would normally be able to adjust.
    I have argued strongly for rent-control, so you really miss the boat. Problem is that these idiots that run the BOS only consider one side of the equation, and what started out as something that was supposed to be usefull has morphed into something else, so I have been able to see right through the BS on this one, Alvos in typical Daly mode. And as LMRiM pointed out, we are left trying to read the tea-leaves in order to survive/thrive in the mess that is created by “fair” ideas put to practice.
    I don’t take you seriously anyway. Your post that egged on this debate was totally disconnected. You make the comment that you made and then attached the article about the cost of owning being the most expensive in the nation. So what? The 10% obviously are willing to pay it, and it may be more than the recommended 35% of gross income. The complete picture would include how expensive it is for renters. I would venture to say that a newcomer to the City would still need to pay a percent of income that is much higher than other places. So it’s expensive here and people have to pay it to live here. Beyond that, what exactly is your point? And try and be objective if you care to answer, your rantings and subjective connections really show your immaturity.
    I know you called me Ms Viewlover earlier, that’s a new one for me. Did you notice that I put commas on your posting when I copied it, where they belong? You’re one to correct grammer.

  69. Posted by don

    “But the landlord owns the building, and private property rights are a central tenet of our Constitution.”
    Trip you are just going to have to tell that to the US and the Cal. Supreme Courts because they both think rent control is completely legal. In fact it is rare for an appeals court to overturn tenant protections voted on by the citizenry.
    Just because you have property rights doesn’t mean you have TOTAL property rights as you must fully know. Try building west of Van Ness Avenue if you don’t believe that.
    The only judges who stick to that absolutist argument are ‘bought and paid for’ San Francisco Superior Court judges who are nearly always overruled once a rent control issue is appealed to a higher court.

  70. Posted by don

    “You are just projecting your perverted sense of entitlement. What I am saying is that the changes that are being proposed are one sided and one sided only.”
    Not at all viewlover. Again every one of these proposed tenant protections are rights that landlords already enjoy.
    Landlords can bank rent increases going back 10 years but tenants can only bank rent refunds going back three years. If you don’t want to see the unfairness of that fine but a majority of SF voters see that for what it is….
    NY means tests rent control and all tenants want is the right to means test rent increases. I understand if you are biased in favor of landlord rights. Most voters are not landlords. Life must be hard.
    There are several cities and counties in the bay area that experienced higher rent increases during the credit and housing bubbles than SF. You can rationalize that different ways and that is what elections are for.
    If you think rent control is an issue of individual rights vs. the madness of tenant crowds that is what the US Supreme Court is for and they have thrown that argument out more than once. Better luck next time.
    I assume judging from your name that you are a view lover and I assume that if someone were to build a couple stories high enough to block your view you would ask a court to seek a more balanced view of that person’s property to add floors vs your right to love your view.
    Most people understand what is really going on here. I like to tell landlords the same thing they tell me. “Get out.”

  71. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    It’s probably not a coincidence that the areas with the strong rent controls (in particular, NYC, SF and Boston – at least historically) have very high rents relative to incomes.
    Right. In places with high rents, the populace has tended to turn to rent control as a remedy. Does this surprise you somehow?
    And it is not just Palo Alto renters that disproportionately suffered during the dot com boom. So did Mt. View, Sunnyvale and San Jose renters.

  72. Posted by viewlover

    I actually did have my view partially blocked, and was encouraged by the planning commission to pay them over $300 dollars to file an appeal that I would lose anyway because views are not protected. But it would delay things and make the other persons life miserable,for nine months or so. I chose not to buy into that game. It just feeds into the beuracracy and the idea that one can pay for the priveledge to keep the system alive and make someone sweat, that may be really cool for some, but not for me. You really fail to read me, you keep projecting your own character onto me.
    Don wrote:
    It is nice of the landlord activists to be concerned about the harm that rent control does to tenants, but we should let tenants decide for themselves, as they do with every rent control referendum, what is good for tenants
    This is the reason why I am convinced you have a perverted entitlement mentality. Since you can’t see it, let me break it down for you.
    Let the tenants decide what is best for them by voting in laws to protect their best interest, at least this is what I believe to be your general premise. Out of convenience or tunnel vision, or something less favorable, you simply ignore the fact that the properties in question legally belongs to someone else. Whether you agree or not, these people also have rights, and the mob should not be able to vote down their rights. When the BOS gives themselves the power to govern in this manner you really end up with a system that violates individual rights for political gain. Remember George Bush. If the gay marriage issue fails, it will be for just this reason. Rights can be taken away, Californias voted for that and under Mob mentality, that’s legal. The Supreme Court does’nt see a contradiction with the laws of the state or rent control in the same way it may not see a contradiction with prop 8. Does it make it right then? As long as the majority get what they want, maybe.
    In real estate terms, I would say you support a system worse than communism. At least under communism, the government owns all the property and is responsible for maintaining it. Under renter rule, a private owner pays to own, the upkeep, and property taxes, but has little to no say in how that property is used.
    I’m only curious about one thing, how do you fix the decaying apartments, or are you OK with that aspect of the outcome? And please don’t say you can pass more laws to force the issue.

  73. Posted by don

    If I were a communist I would deny you the obscene, fraudulent capital gains you were accruing (until last year when your unsustainable business model collapsed).
    But your pathologically selfish argument is childishly inconsistent in a way that seems to escape no one but you.
    You would deny tenants the right to plot their destiny through the ballot and the courts because they are communist? The reason communism was shunned and abhorred in the 20th century was because communist governments denied their citizens the right to free and fair elections.
    The traditional American answer to this type of agreement is an election within the bounds of a constitution, as interpreted by the Supreme Court.
    So get ready to get your head handed to you again. Because your arguments are transparent and clownish.

  74. Posted by Fred

    It is really wrong to honor “don” with the accolade of communist – the Communists, historically at least, started out with a consistent set of principles and worked towards implementing them in an honest way.
    “don” is actually representing an *anarchist* point of view – he has no respect for the minority viewpoint, he has no problem with the idea that a mob should be allowed to set the rules to their advantage and he closes his eyes to the dishonest manipulations that are used by the mob to sway the electorate into decisions that might be for their short-term benefit but produce a long-term detriment to society as a whole.
    Shame on “don” – there should be no place for anarchists in this society.

  75. Posted by don

    Deny the right to free elections and access to the courts? I bet you are quite into the communists’ solutions when the rest of society doesn’t see things your way but in America you have a big roadblock at the US Supreme Court which has thrown out your crackpot arguments more than once.
    People are sick of catering to your self centered pathologies. The entire global financial system is insolvent because we didn’t have the spine to stand up to your nonsensical ideology but we are learning the hard way…

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *