December 15, 2009
Proposed OMI Eviction Protection For Families With Children
Ordinance amending Administrative Code Chapter 37 “Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance” by amending Section 37.9(i) to prohibit owner move-in evictions where any tenant is under the age of 18 and a member of a household which has resided in the unit for at least 12 months.
The proposed exception(s): if it’s a single-family home; if it’s the only unit the owner owns in the building; or if it’s a qualified relative move-in with a household member under the age of 18 of their own.
First Published: December 15, 2009 10:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Keep increasing rent control and buyers will flee SF, and landlords that currently own will let buildings fall apart due to lack of any income
Posted by: mikeywoodz at December 15, 2009 10:09 AM
Why don't they just cut to the chase and propose a new ordinance guaranteeing permanent $1 rents for everyone?
Posted by: Buy High, Sell Low at December 15, 2009 10:14 AM
or, why don't they just mandate what the actual outcome of this legislation will be, rather than beating around the bush: No Landords Rent to Tenants with Children.
This would be similar to the current situation we have which is called: No Landlords Rent to Senior Citizens.
Congratulations Eric Mar. You are the latest in a long line of D-bag supervisors to propose legislation that will hurt tenants through it's unintended, yet easily foreseen by anyone with a brain, consequences.
Posted by: anon$random at December 15, 2009 10:22 AM
I don't understand why the Supervisors keep coming up with these insane proposals.
Also, they should at least exempt 1-4 unit properties, if they're going to have these insane regs.
None of these measures seems to encourage people to build more housing in SF, which is what would really keep prices down.
Posted by: sfrenegade at December 15, 2009 10:31 AM
no, none of these measures to encourage people to build more housing, or rent it for that matter, it does seem to keep morons who pander to renters in office though. it also makes more and more owners want to TIC their buildings.
Posted by: anon$random at December 15, 2009 10:41 AM
"Landlords" don't generally do OMI's as it's somewhat limited to do more than one. People looking for a place to live do OMI's. Legislation like this keeps starter housing prices up and middle class families who want to own out of SF.
Posted by: Ryan at December 15, 2009 11:29 AM
Agree with Ryan that people looking for places to live do OMIs. But this is why this proposed legislation would basically do nothing: one of the proposed exceptions is if it's the only unit the owner owns in a building. I would guess (off of nothing more than a hunch and the ones I've seen!) this fits the definition of 90+% of all legitimate OMIs. Am I wrong?
Posted by: Scooter at December 15, 2009 1:00 PM
Whoops, well I guess no more renting to families with children. Add these to a long list of people I won't rent to. That's the bottom line. Who are the families who have the highest # of children: Asian, Latino, African Americans.
Can someone spell disproportionate impact?
Don't like it, sue me.
This is dunderheaded.
Posted by: Asian and Ashamed at December 15, 2009 1:14 PM
And the quick way around not renting to children is for prospective renters to simply hide that fact while negotiating for the unit. I'm pretty sure failure to disclose minor children living on site isn't actionable by the landlord at all.
(Not saying I agree with Mar's legislation, just pointing out the tenants can and will be just as devious)
Posted by: Eric in SF at December 15, 2009 1:42 PM
Such hyperbole! Landlords have no incentive to rent to black and latino people? You will discriminate against black and latino families because they have children? And it will be the communist supervisors fault, right?
Dunderhead says he will break the law in a racist manner and he's proud of it and even dares people to sue him! I hope you get sued for your racist, privilege, libertarian clap-trap. You would deserve it for openly violating the law like that. And on racial grounds! No wonder we need laws like this. If it was the Wild West Dunderhead would be evicting poor black families because they breed too much and who is to say if it was an illegal eviction and if he just felt like evicting this family on 2 days notice? Hey, that's the free market and these poor black families can hire a lawyer and sue him!
Give me a break. Our country has been so lobotomized and propagandized by this Ayn Rand crap.
Look, both renters and home "owners" (1/2 of whom are really glorified renters) get some government protection and get some warning and process before they are thrown out on the street. Almost no one believes we should get rid of all regulation and process and adopt an Ayn Rand model for foreclosure/eviction. These talking points that it is self-evidently bad for society to allow a short period of time to allow FAMILIES TO FIND SHELTER come from decades of right-wing corporatist propaganda. It's a bunch of baloney that has led to the crony-capitalist system both parties currently prop up.
Who here wants to go to the Las Vegas system of laissez faire "capitalism" where renters can be evicted on less than two days notice? Or is that too much government meddling? Say a landlord forgets to tell his tenant he hasn't been paying the mortgage for a year and the sherrif shows up to evict the tenants on one day notice. That's cool! That's the free market.
You masters of the universe that claim to you will take your ball (capital) and go home--good! Do it you whiny little brat! It's like hearing a bank CEO whine about government intervention after being larded down with government money. I don't believe you anyway. And is it really killing you to provide a a little process before you destroy a families life? It's not like you're selling the family a computer. This is where they live! Even families without kids deserve to have some stability and get a month or so time to find alternative shelter. You masters of the universe think that a dog eat dog world where a landlord can evict a tenant with almost no warning is good?
Crazy. Such hyperbole. Ayn Rand and the magic pony brigade, led by Uncy Alan Greenspan et al. has destroyed Americans' ability to consider these issues in a fair manner.
Posted by: SFHawkguy at December 15, 2009 2:05 PM
Wow. How very very quick you are to point and turn this into a race debate. The fact is that certain races may or may not have more children than average. Just the simple fact of pointing out who will get impacted the most gets blasted with a leghthy diatribe I suppose.
If a white families have family sizes of 4 or 5 children, I would feel exactly the same way and exclude them from my list.
You should be screaming at the supe, because he's the one introducing this racist legislation (he should have studied who it impacts the most).
Posted by: Asian and Ashamed at December 15, 2009 2:16 PM
That was an entertaining rant by SFHawkguy. Jesus man, try decaf.
What dunderhead (or whatever his name is) said is more or less dead on. Not sure how you managed to get so angry about what is the obvious reality of the situation. If renting to a certain group, whatever that group may be, opens you up to increased regulation and freedom then you're probably going to be weary of renting to that group.
Posted by: Agent415 at December 15, 2009 2:17 PM
yes, sfhawkguy, families (and all tenants) do deserve some stability. but the meddling done by the BOS with the free market rental system has created rules and loopholes that, unfortunately, make it difficult for landlords to make a profit (yes, its a business guy) within the confines of the current system. It also makes it more difficult for the people they are allegedly helping. no one here is saying that people should be allowed their 60-day notice. You implied that people here said that, they didnt. But to have to plan 1 year ahead to tell your tenants what you're going to do with your property (as Ammiano just proposed to the state legislature), is ludicrous. And placing these restrictions on landlords based upon whether their tenants have children...also ludicrous.
PS. Ayn Rand is HOT!
Posted by: anon$random at December 15, 2009 2:18 PM
Oops, meant "lack of freedom".
Duh - to me, lol
Posted by: Agent415 at December 15, 2009 2:18 PM
Eric in SF:
You suggest lying about material facts that would impact the business arrangement, a legal agreement. Wow, SF has really gone downhill if this is the only way to do business in this day and age.
Why not lie about your income while you're at it and go buy yourself a house and not deal with having to rent? Nevermind.
New lows, I'm sad to say, new lows.
Posted by: Dunderhead at December 15, 2009 2:22 PM
I do not apologize for taking your racial comments to their obvious conclusion. You stated you would discriminate based on race when leasing property.
I didn't see your evidence but it would not surprise me that black and latino families have more children and on average have less income.
Indeed, it may make financial sense to only give loans to white people. You and other prudent businessmen on here evidently agree there is nothing objectionable about this point. It's simply business! Cold, hard-nosed business analysis. As such, yes, a landlord may be able to get a greater return if he turned down all people of color and simply rented to white people (and Asians I guess).
But, there has been a history of racial prejudice in housing. I encourage you to check out a documentary about gangs in L.A. in the 80s and how the racist housing policies in L.A. created conditions that fueled the gang wars (I don't know the name of it off hand--I'd have to search). I'm sure all the smart business men of that time had equally valid business reasons for discriminating against blacks, Asians, and Latinos.
In another time, the civil rights era, we decided as a country that business interests come second to bringing about racial justice when it comes to housing and jobs. It will be a long slow road and we will live with the vestiges of slavery and discrimination for a while. There is a reason the black people of San Francisco, and the poorer people, are ghettoized in a couple of small areas of San Francisco.
And it is quite shocking to see an Asian, who would have been discriminated against 50 years ago, so eagerly put forward the same arguments to discriminate against blacks as were used against Asians in the past.
And re the coffee . . . I think my problem may be that I was slipped decaf instead of the real deal.
Posted by: SFHawkguy at December 15, 2009 2:36 PM
Here's the documentary I referenced:
Made in America: Crips and Bloods
Posted by: SFHawkguy at December 15, 2009 2:44 PM
Tell me about it. My parents were evicted from their unit in 1980 because my mother had the nerve to have another child, my brother.
My bone of contention is very logical. I'm trying to avert discrimination by playing out the scenario before your eyes. I see a family with a couple of kids, I won't rent to them. (on a side not - who usually has the most kids.)
Especially if it's a house worth close to a million that I may want to live in with my family at some point. What about me? What about my rights? I did all the work. I spent close to a million and can't even move into my own place because of some supervisor. As a minority that struggled to make it to a decent level, I resent that.
Posted by: Ashamed Asian at December 15, 2009 2:50 PM
"I didn't see your evidence but it would not surprise me that black and latino families have more children and on average have less income."
"As such, yes, a landlord may be able to get a greater return if he turned down all people of color and simply rented to white people (and Asians I guess)."
SFHawkguy, you are a bigot and a racist, hiding behind whatever stereotypes that enabled you to present a disgusting theory fueled not by facts but by bigotry and stereotypes.
You essentially called blacks and latinos poor and immoral, likely without realizing what you were doing. You are a bigot who thinks himself just. You are part of the reason we need anti-discrimination laws.
Posted by: pobeb at December 15, 2009 3:06 PM
If landlords are struggling to make a profit I submit it has less to do with government regulation than it does with these landlords being just as underwater as the other home "owners" and now rents are falling across the country (even in laissez faire areas).
I know quite a few masters of the universe that fancied themselves mini Donald Trumps these last few years and got in to the landlord business. Many thought they would make a quick buck and many did. So I'm not concerned that they chose the wrong time to be a landlord. It's not like the house won't be used for housing if some particular master of the universe wasn't able to be a landlord. I think the biggest problem for landlords is the fact they bought housing for too high a price and rents are decreasing not because of the BOS but because the economy is in the dumps thanks to the Ayn Rand fools that have taken over our government the last 30 years.
But I too am not a fan of rent control as currently constituted. I don't mind the government ensureing that people get a minimal level of shelter though. Especially children. 1/4 of children in this country are on food stamps! It probably seems far removed from the everyday problems of a San Francisco landlord master of the universe but these children suffer from not having a steady source of food and shelter. Maybe vouchers are better--I don't know. But I agree that rent control is not very well targeted.
But the fact of the matter is home "OWNERS" get the lionshare of government subsidies.
And on the home ownership front, I think doing what the BOS did with below market rate housing is FAR PREFERABLE to the crony-capitalist method of supporting home ownership through mortgage interest deduction, capital gain forgiveness, and of course the outright gifts to homeowners. In fact, the 8K tax gift the whores in the federal Congress passed will cost the citizens of San Francisco far more than this measure will cost-in dollars per person. I'm sure the dollar amounts don't even come close to comparing!
I guess I was responding to the general comments that were taking swipes at rental protections in general. No matter how minor these protections are there are tons of people that pile on and use crony-capitalist, Ayn Randian, talking points making it seem like renters are welfare queens whereas the noble ownership society of landed gentry get treated differently. You don't see people whining about Black people breeding like dogs and not ever renting to them when the government gives home "owners" welfare.
Posted by: SFHawkguy at December 15, 2009 3:07 PM
Dunderhead - please don't shoot the messenger. I'm laying out likely responses to landlords not renting to families with children.
But I'll take your bait for awhile.
It's *against the law* to discriminate against children in housing. I do not know if there are local fair housing regulations, but I do know both the good ole USA and the State of California both prohibit landlords from discriminating against families with children.
It's my understanding this law is used most to prevent landlords from evicting new moms or a family that expands.
I'll be honest, I don't really know if misrepresenting whether you have children when applying for a rental property is actionable. I can't imagine it is, based on the fact that I know you can't deny housing based wholly or in part on the presence of the children.
Do we have any more knowledgeable folks reading here today who can speak to what would happen if someone simply failed to disclose their children on the application and then the landlord signed a lease with that person and THEN the children were disclosed?
Posted by: Eric in SF at December 15, 2009 3:08 PM
Since we are doing likely responses. The likely response in general is that rents just go up overall for everyone. This would account for the threat or possibility that there may or may not be any children being disclosed on the rental contract.
Posted by: Dunderhead at December 15, 2009 3:17 PM
Nice try. You don't do the moral outrage very well though. I like mine better.
But thanks anyway for pointing that apparent inconsistency out.
I was assuming, for the sake of argument, that Black people and Latinos have more children as the comments up thread implies. That's why I used words like "may", etc.
I don't think race should factor in at all. That's what the law says as well.
To clarify though, I don't think Black people and Latino people are more immoral than white people. I think we live in a deeply racist society; how else can one describe the largest prison system the Earth has ever seen where black men are locked up en masse. If white people were locked up in such numbers we would have a revolution. I certainly don't think Black families are disproportionately in prison or disproportionately poor (if that is indeed the case) because of their racial inadequacy.
In fact, I think the main reason for the disparate effects is that black people were brought here as slaves a mere 150 years ago, they weren't given full rights until 50 years ago, and black American men are imprisoned more so than any group in the world. It's the vestiges of slavery. And racism.
And housing is where subtle racism gets practiced. A landlord won't rent to a Black tenant and he thinks he's got a business reason for it when really it's his racial prejudices.
And I may be just as guilty of practicing subtle racism. But I meant to argue in the alternative and was unconscious of it and I still don't see it but I'm open to you showing me how my argument is racist. . . .
Posted by: SFHawkguy at December 15, 2009 3:30 PM
We have the most fair judicial system on Earth. Innocent until proved guilty. Without a reasonable doubt, I'm 100% certain that the person behind bars is guilty. They comitted the crime. They're doing the time. I do not care what race they may or may not be. If all of these people were members of a race called Purple, I could really care less. That's how foolish I think your outrage is.
How you could defend these people is beyond comprehension.
I'm outraged that these people are taking up so much of our tax dollars to tell you the truth. When that money could be going to housing or education.
Posted by: Obama's Momma at December 15, 2009 3:40 PM
hmmm. yeah, i'm going to have to go ahead and disagree strongly with ObamasMomma. Drug laws, police enforcement, and socio-economic factors are the main attributes to the disproportionate number of blacks in prisons. And its been proven quite regularly through DNA that our juries are probably right up there with them....THAT, however, is not what this argument is about. This is about [f**king] with the free market by pandering to renters to screw up our rental market even further than it has been. Let's stay on target here people.
And enough with the fake outrage. I know its so popular in America these days, but its pretty old.
Posted by: anon$random at December 15, 2009 3:47 PM
I'm 100% certain that the person behind bars is guilty
you dont really believe every single inmate in prison is guilty...do you?
Posted by: missiondude at December 15, 2009 3:48 PM
obama's momma. youre argument is not only irrelevant, its also wrong. the disproportionate number of blacks in our prisons is due to socio-economic factors, faulty drug laws, bad policing, and poorly informed juries. aka - racism.
THAT, however, is not what this argument is about. Its about government interference screwing with the free market and making this rental market even more difficult for the people that are allegedly being protected.
Also, enough with the fake outrage. It's so very American and fashionable, but yet so old and transparent at the same time.
Posted by: anon$random at December 15, 2009 3:49 PM
At this point, despite which side of the debate you fall on, I think we can agree that a simplification of rules would be helpful to everyone.
I mean, the number of times the rules have changed regarding condo conversions, even in the last 5 years, is enough that I have to sign 4 separate affidavits that essentially say the same thing: our building hasn't had a senior or disabled person evicted since such and such time.
I think they need to simply say this: If it's 6 units or more, no OMI evictions allowed, because the building is designed to be rented to tenants. (6 chosen because I think that's the condo conversion cutoff) If it's less than 6 units, no OMI restrictions except on the number that can occur within a specific time period (e.g. not more than 1 every 10 years). Remove the ridiculous restriction that once one unit has been OMIed, that is the only unit that can ever be OMIed. The purpose of that is to prevent psuedo-ellis evictions via round-robin OMI, and if you can only do one OMI per 10 years, it's going to take your whole life to do that anyway.
I mean, seriously, what boogyman landlord are we trying to keep in control here? We keep adding all of these rules for these hypothetical situations. How many OMI evictions against families happened last year that would have been prevented by this new statute? And seriously, you have to move because the owner of your building wants to live in it? Tough. You don't own the darn property! Ridiculous that the renter has more rights than the owner. Why doesn't SF just claim eminent domain over everything and then hire people to act as 'landlord'
The property market here is so FUBAR because of the inane number of ordinances that affect specific situations. May lord have mercy on your soul if you're new here and inadvertently buy a tenant-occupied TIC unit thinking you're going to live in it.
Posted by: rr at December 15, 2009 5:34 PM
wow this is great reading. glad i live in D7 where everyone leaves the city when they have kids and this proposal would be nearly irrelevant.
Posted by: resp at December 15, 2009 6:57 PM
Both state law and local ordinances prohibit discrimination on the basis of family status, (including number of children and pregnancy). Local ordinances allow blood relatives (including children) to move into a unit even if it increases the number of occupants beyond that allowed in a tenant's lease. The only restriction on this ordinance is that a certain number of occupants per qualifying bedroom (as set by law) cannot be exceeded. There is absolutely nothing a landlord can do if a couple present themselves as without children during a rental interview and then show up with kids after signing a lease. That said, the restrictions proposed by this supe on OMI likely conflict with state law and would be preempted (i.e., rendered unenforceable) by the same.
Posted by: Cole Valley Lawyer at December 15, 2009 7:21 PM
With all the rants about evil rent control, why is it forgotten that capital improvement pass-throughs for approved work, are allowed--with tenants funding them in amortized fashion--including interest.
At least in 1989, we tenants paid for substandard
exterior painting (hadn't been done in decades). The "waterproofing" failed the first year, (before the rent board hearing) but it was considered a capital improvement and we paid for it, including interest. Parapet reinforcement and other city code-mandated work was also passed-through to tenants.
Posted by: Tongue in Check at December 15, 2009 10:00 PM
Come on guys, the rent control discussion is old. If you research a bit, a study was done paid by SF sups about the impact of rent control and it basically said that it didn't help the people in need, ect... There are numerous studies out there. Rent control as it stands in SF is political. If the sups really cared about housing people in need, they would charge a cross the board tax to everyone and subsidize the people in need. And don't think that I'm against rent control from a business standpoint as it has it's pros and cons...
Someone asked if you lied to a landlord about having kids, would it be actionable. The simple answer is YES (Just cause #2). Lying on an application is grounds to evict. You are much better off telling the truth, as if the landlord rejects you because of having kids, he can get in BIG trouble.
Posted by: Ryan at December 15, 2009 10:45 PM
What is the name of the study of Rent Control done by the SF Board of Sups? Would love to read it myself.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at December 16, 2009 12:18 AM
What LL in thier right mind would state out loud that they didn't accept a tenant because they had children? For most smaller apartments, a studio or 1BR, you could say that you can allow 2 people max. Anything more is overcrowding in my opinion. Or if the tenant did not fit the income or credit profile, none of these are actionable.
Like the lawyer said, OMI is preempted by state law anyhow, and this supe's ridiculous legislation would only apply in "spirit" only.
Posted by: ValleySwag at December 16, 2009 5:25 AM
"What is the name of the study of Rent Control done by the SF Board of Sups? Would love to read it myself."
Agree -- would love to read this too. The main arguments against rent control are typically given by places like Cato, so it'd be nice to see someone else's take -- someone who doesn't hate it so much.
Posted by: JimBobJones at December 16, 2009 8:33 AM
Legislation like this is exactly why my husband and I will only allow short-term rentals of the 2nd junior 1br unit in the 2-unit building we bought.
A rental of under 30 days is the only way to avoid all the hassle and drama of the tangled spaghetti laws that apply to long-term rentals in SF. So we'll furnish it and rent it by the night or week.
We expect that we'll be moving my parents (approaching their 80s) into it at some point within the next 5 years and I'd sooner leave it empty then rent it and risk not being able to get tenants out so I can move my parents in. Of course, even if doing an OMI is feasible it's absurdly expensive, the relocation fees required are nothing more than legalized theft.
Posted by: geekgrrl at December 16, 2009 10:22 AM
SYNOPSIS: That great sacred cow-- Rent Control-- is a textbook case of Economic stupidity Economists who have ventured into the alleged real world often quote Princeton's Alan Blinder, who has formulated what he calls "Murphy's Law of economic policy": "Economists have the least influence on policy where they know the most and are most agreed; they have the most influence on policy where they know the least and disagree most vehemently." It's flip and cynical, but it's true.
Consider, on one side, really tough issues -- where there are plausible arguments on both sides, where nobody really knows how to measure the tradeoffs. Should Microsoft be broken up and, if so, how? Should Britain adopt the euro? Let's ask the economists! And those economists who are prepared to express strong opinions on such inherently ambiguous questions command rapt attention.
On the other side, consider an article that appeared in yesterday's New York Times, "In San Francisco, Renters Are Supplicants." It was an interesting piece, with its tales of would-be renters spending months pounding the pavements, of dozens of desperate applicants arriving at a newly offered apartment, trying to impress the landlord with their credentials. And yet there was something crucial missing -- specifically, two words I knew had to be part of the story.
Not that I have any special knowledge about San Francisco's housing market -- in fact, as of yesterday morning I didn't know a thing about it. But it was immediately obvious from the story what was going on. To an economist, or for that matter a freshman who has taken Economics 101, everything about that story fairly screamed those two words -- which are, of course, "rent control."
After all, the sort of landlord behavior described in the article -- demanding that prospective tenants supply résumés and credit reports, that they dress nicely and act enthusiastic -- doesn't happen in uncontrolled housing markets. Landlords don't want groveling -- they would rather have money. In uncontrolled markets the question of who gets an apartment is settled quickly by the question of who is able and willing to pay the most. And so I had no doubts about what I would find after a bit of checking -- namely, that San Francisco is a city where a technology-fueled housing boom has collided with a draconian rent-control law.
The analysis of rent control is among the best-understood issues in all of economics, and -- among economists, anyway -- one of the least controversial. In 1992 a poll of the American Economic Association found 93 percent of its members agreeing that "a ceiling on rents reduces the quality and quantity of housing." Almost every freshman-level textbook contains a case study on rent control, using its known adverse side effects to illustrate the principles of supply and demand. Sky-high rents on uncontrolled apartments, because desperate renters have nowhere to go -- and the absence of new apartment construction, despite those high rents, because landlords fear that controls will be extended? Predictable. Bitter relations between tenants and landlords, with an arms race between ever-more ingenious strategies to force tenants out -- what yesterday's article oddly described as "free-market horror stories" -- and constantly proliferating regulations designed to block those strategies? Predictable.
And as for the way rent control sets people against one another -- the executive director of San Francisco's Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Board has remarked that "there doesn't seem to be anyone in this town who can trust anyone else in this town, including their own grandparents" -- that's predictable, too.
None of this says that ending rent control is an easy decision. Still, surely it is worth knowing that the pathologies of San Francisco's housing market are right out of the textbook, that they are exactly what supply-and-demand analysis predicts.
But people literally don't want to know. A few months ago, when a San Francisco official proposed a study of the city's housing crisis, there was a firestorm of opposition from tenant-advocacy groups. They argued that even to study the situation was a step on the road to ending rent control -- and they may well have been right, because studying the issue might lead to a recognition of the obvious.
So now you know why economists are useless: when they actually do understand something, people don't want to hear about it.
Posted by: Paul Krugman (nobel prize winner - Economics) at December 16, 2009 10:32 AM
Btw, I always wondered why the same people who complain about rent control often are perfectly happy about Prop 13...
Posted by: JimBobJones at December 16, 2009 10:36 AM
^^Red Herring Alert!^^^ stay on topic. We're discussing rent control and a nobe prize winner's analysis of it, yet you throw in prop 13.
Posted by: Red Herring Alert at December 16, 2009 10:53 AM
Not a red herring when both have similar effects and both affect the housing landscape in SF. I would happily get rid of both simultaneously.
Posted by: JimBobJones at December 16, 2009 10:57 AM
To (the fake?) Paul Krugman - that article in the NY Times is from 2000.
geekgrrl - just a bit of advice - when you rent your unit out serial fashion for periods of one night to 29 days some people consider that to be an unpermitted place of lodging. Don't piss any of your neighbors off.
Posted by: Eric in SF at December 16, 2009 11:08 AM
geekgrrl, you realize that unless you are zoned as a commercial hotel, your rental practices are a crime under the municipal code punishable by up to a year in jail.
Posted by: anon at December 16, 2009 11:25 AM
^ That's really unlikely... A LL down the street from me has been running an unwarranted B&B type place out of her condo for at least 10 years much to the chagrin of all other residents in the building. In spite of their complaints to the city, it remains in operation.
Posted by: sleepiguy at December 16, 2009 11:43 AM
anon @ 11:25 AM - How exactly is she violating the municipal code? If would be helpful to back up your accusation with facts. Unless, of course, you're just trolling.
Posted by: Fishchum at December 16, 2009 11:48 AM
It's encouraging to see that Ayn Rand's ideas are penetrating so far into the culture that they are being widely discussed, albeit without much clarity or understanding, among even those that find her views repugnant.
Just the mindless ramblings from another poor lobotomized soul.
Posted by: C. Jeffery Small at December 16, 2009 12:00 PM
Fischum, I gave you the facts. It is a violation of the municipal code, and a crime, to rent out a residence unit as geekgrrl has stated she is doing. See Chapter 41A of the Admin. Code.
Sure, the city may or may not get around to prosecuting, but I sure hope she is taking that risk into account in setting her rental rates!
Posted by: anon at December 16, 2009 12:11 PM
Anon @ 12:11 PM - Thank you for the information. That's what I was looking for. It would be helpful to cite the code violation the next time you accuse someone of doing so.
Posted by: Fishchum at December 16, 2009 12:40 PM
Folks admitting to committing crimes on websites hosted on servers physically located within the USA should think twice. Your identity is just one over-eager District Attorney away from a subpoena. This is general advice more than SF specific advice, but good advice nonetheless.
Posted by: Eric in SF at December 16, 2009 12:47 PM
"After all, the sort of landlord behavior described in the article -- demanding that prospective tenants supply résumés and credit reports, that they dress nicely and act enthusiastic -- doesn't happen in uncontrolled housing markets. Landlords don't want groveling -- they would rather have money."
HAHAHAHAHA! Hilarious. Yes, we all know that in a rent controlled market like SF that landlords would rather people kiss their behinds then have money. Since when did trying to show that you have the money and are not a credit risk become "groveling"?
I'm sure in those non-rent controlled markets that landlords can instantly tell who has money and who doesn't so prospective tenants don't need to try to show that they have money by providing credit reports, resumes, or dressing as employed people. Or maybe in those non-rent controlled markets prospective tenents just show up with checks and instantly get places?!?
Posted by: Rillion at December 16, 2009 1:00 PM
Here's a link to Chapter 41A, Apartment Unit Conversion Ordinance, that Eric cited. I would note: In addition, the owner may be liable for civil penalties of not more than $1,000 per day for the period of the unlawful rental..
Posted by: EBGuy at December 16, 2009 1:12 PM
An article from a decade ago by a nobel prize winning author has no less meaning than it would today. The exact same principles apply.
I remember back in 2000, as a prank, a LL posted a thread offering to rent out a unit for below market if a tenant with a good enough "story" were to apply. There were literally hundreds of Sob stories literally begging for the unit. It was hilarious. A riot, really. It turned out to be a hoax. So a big thank you to that guy who posted that back in 2000. It provided me with much needed free entertainment at the time. LOL
Posted by: Fishcum at December 16, 2009 1:52 PM
Does someone have any more info if this was the one paid for by SF sups?
Wikipedia seems to have a fairly exhaustive list of references:
Posted by: Ryan at December 18, 2009 8:54 AM
Thanks for the advice everyone but we're good. It is a legal 2nd unit with it's own address and we'll be registering it as a business and paying appropriate taxes on it.
Posted by: geekgrrl at December 18, 2009 9:33 AM
geekgrrl, it doesn't matter if it is a legal unit, has its own address, or is registered as a business. It is still illegal. Paying the taxes will avoid further liability for tax evasion but does not cure the illegality. You need to get a variance.
Posted by: anon at December 18, 2009 9:37 AM
And before someone decides to report me to the police, we just closed on the building and won't be moving in until next year so we haven't rented anything to anyone yet - sorry to ruin your schaudenfraude. :p
The real point that I was trying (and failed) to make was that we have a 2nd unit that we would otherwise rent long-term to someone if we knew in a 3-5 years we could legally ask them to move out but San Francisco laws make that incredibly cost prohibitive if not impossible.
Providing 60-days notice, no problem. Heck, we would provide 90-180 days notice. But either you can't legally move them out at all due to restrictions on OMIs or you can do an OMI and pay $5000/tenant in moving expenses, not including the legal fees.
Neither option is desirable for us so we won't be renting it long-term to anyone, thereby reducing the overall rental housing stock in San Francisco which is exactly what rent and eviction controls are allegedly trying to preserve. Oh, the irony.
Posted by: geekgrrl at December 18, 2009 9:56 AM
I think you are in for a headache in running a residential hotel room from your 2nd apartment. Getting renters/ vacationers and cleaning up after them is a non-trivial business and takes a lot of time.
My advise would be to find a decent tenant, collect your rent and then give them an OMI when the time is right. OMI's are pretty much a slam dunk if you are dealing with someone with good credit and such and your intent is genuine.
Posted by: Ryan at December 18, 2009 1:15 PM
Just rent to a nonsmoker without a pet in their late 20s/early 30s who has a decent job. They'll leave sooner or later. Then hit "repeat."
Posted by: anonn at December 18, 2009 1:37 PM
@anon - No variance needed, just the business license. We have a building zoned RH3 meaning we can legally run a hotel up to 5 rooms.
@Ryan - This is something we have looked into doing for many years, we fully understand the challenges of running a vacation rental. We have a realistic business plan and don't expect to be able to generate positive cash right away. We also don't need to have it rented full-time to make the money we need it to make.
If we can't make it work, we'll just go TIC and sell it.
For us, having a tenant we can't get rid of or one that costs us $5000 in moving expenses plus attorney and filing fees is much worse then not being able to find vacation renters.
Thanks for the input!
Posted by: geekgrrl at December 18, 2009 2:13 PM
geekgrrl, have at it. But I suggest you talk to an attorney. RH3 means "Residential House Three Family" and does not permit one to run a hotel! I'm with you on the rent control and OMI codes, and I agree with others that you're likely to get away with running an illegal hotel. But it is illegal and the punishment can be stiff.
Posted by: anon at December 18, 2009 2:33 PM
Anon, you can run up to 5 room hotel in a RH-3 with a conditional use permit. What I have not been able to find is how the city classifies vacation rentals and what are the rules on lease periods on apartments...
Posted by: Ryan at December 21, 2009 1:44 AM
Ryan, yes, you are right. You need a conditional use permit, not a variance. Never going to be granted regardless.
Posted by: anon at December 21, 2009 9:22 AM
Hum, now I'm very curious as I have a building that would be perfect for vacation rentals someday.
Posed to legal advice: "Had a quick question: Is it legal / permitted for me to rent out an apartment as a vacation rental with between 1 week and 3 week stays?"
"Yes, but if the unit is under rent control you still have to follow those laws. If the person does not vacate after the rental period, you may be out of luck.
We does not generally advise on vacation rentals."
Posted by: Ryan at December 21, 2009 9:28 AM
"The following types of dwelling units are also exempt from the Rent Ordinance, regardless of when the building was constructed:
1. Units in hotels, motels, inns, tourist houses, rooming and boarding houses, where the unit has not been occupied by the same tenant for 32 or more continuous days, provided that the landlord has not recovered possession of the unit from the tenant in order to avoid the application of the Rent Ordinance;"
Posted by: geekgrrl at December 21, 2009 9:41 AM
"You need a conditional use permit, not a variance. Never going to be granted regardless."
You are correct that it is unlikely to get such a permit for a RH2 or RH3 unit that is or has been covered by rent control, meaning a rent board fee is paid by the property.
The property we bought has never paid a rent board fee, it has always been used as a SFH, so our chances at getting a conditional use permit for the 2nd unit are actually quite high. And yes, we do have an attorney.
Posted by: geekgrrl at December 21, 2009 9:48 AM
Your post lists all of the housing types that need a conditional use permit. See my link above.
On the other hand, with a vacation rental you will be charging a premium so if they stay it will be very expensive for them. The problem that I see is that if they stay without paying you, you will have a very difficult time removing them. Someone could potentially move in and stay for probably 3 months free with really the worst you can do is crush their credit. [Removed by request] And then even if you win, they can get the eviction thrown out due to "hardship". Really credit scores are the only item I see as our "protection" against bad tenants, which of course is not normal to get for a vacation rental.
Posted by: Ryan at December 21, 2009 9:53 AM
We've known about the zoning document you linked to for several years now, no worries. See my above post in response to anon regarding the conditional use permit.
We also fully understand the issues of rent control, thanks for your input.
Like I said, we could just end up going TIC and selling it if the vacation rental doesn't work out.
Posted by: geekgrrl at December 21, 2009 10:40 AM