February 1, 2010
For Some Reason The Blighters Aren’t Volunteering To Register
"From the eclectic Mission District to tony Pacific Heights to the hardscrabble streets of San Francisco's Mid-Market, the city's ambitious program to crack down on blighted properties has netted few results [as only a third of the owners have registered their buildings]."
∙ If Only We Didn’t Get So Nervous Every Time We Heard “Blight” [SocketSite]
∙ S.F. blight law shows few results so far [SFGate]
First Published: February 1, 2010 1:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Should we be surprised that Chis I-80 Daly's District 6 is ground zero? Nawwwww. All those in D6, get out this November and work for a candidate who can undo the Daly Damage infected over the past decade. Oh and yes, it was good ol Chris who says planting trees gentrifies the city, and that car break-ins are quality of life issues since people rich enough to own a car have insurance to cover it. Chris should know about "rich people"... as a trust fund baby.
Posted by: Daly's D6 at February 1, 2010 8:22 AM
The published map is too small to really see the specific streets, but it's clear that this map shows only some of the many additional abandoned properties in the city.
Under the law, any building that has a pulled permit for construction on it can't register as abandoned. In our part of the Mission, this is a trick that absent landlords use to drag out the process of rebuilding, often for years. It's depressing.
Posted by: Schlub at February 1, 2010 8:37 AM
The clusterspork in D6 had been festering for a long time before Chris Daly ever showed up. Even amid the craziness of the dot com boom people turned up their noses at those properties. Only now with recent developments such as Mint, SOMA Grand, the Fed building, and all that Trinity stuff has that area really started to show signs of a possible turn around.
Posted by: Mole Man at February 1, 2010 9:14 AM
Come on we all know the solution to the blight in SF, the repeal of prop 13 and rent control.
If those two actions were taken you would be amazed at how quickly landlords, owners, and developers move to fix up properties, fill vacant store fronts, and remove this blight that they have no financial incentive to take care of now.
Of course the city and state don't appear to be motivated to do these things so the blight will remain.
Posted by: badlydrawnbear at February 1, 2010 9:16 AM
Just for clarity's sake, it is the people of the state and the city that do not appear motivated to repeal Prop 13 and rent control. Neither repeal would stand a chance at the ballot box.
Posted by: Rillion at February 1, 2010 11:03 AM
I love these market fundamentalists and bellyacher landlords who use every opportunity to say with complete confidence that if rent control were repealed, suddenly the world would be filled with sweetness and light. In case landlords haven't been keeping up on current events, we had a vote last year on "repeal of rent control", it was called Proposition 98 and only 39% of voters voted for it. Most voters aren't stupid, nor do they suffer from false consciousness.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 1, 2010 11:24 AM
As a rent controlled renter I have no problem saying rent control is a bad bad bad thing. However, I will only give up my rent control when home owner's give up theirs (aka Prop 13).
When my landlord, and all other home owners, start paying market rate taxes for the market rate services they consume I will pay market rate rent. Until then ...
Posted by: badlydrawnbear at February 1, 2010 12:05 PM
BDB, then let's just move to a residency tax, so that everyone pays market rate fees for the market rate services they consume.
Posted by: steve at February 1, 2010 1:15 PM
Prop 98 combined rent control and eminent domain issues into muddle that didn't have much political support. That mess cannot be considered an accurate rating of public attitude toward housing market regulation. In any case what the public thinks will be mostly what they are told to think by leaders, family, and others. All these issues are always in flux.
Wanting a good market solution makes sense, but this problem can still be addressed without that. Make the system of regulating use permits more strict and use eminent domain to take any properties that have persistent use permit violations or no use permit. As with the rest of this the problem is that most of the public isn't even particularly aware of there being either a problem or a matching fix.
Posted by: Mole Man at February 1, 2010 1:26 PM
The only possible modulation to rent control in our People's Republic is the one which worked effectively in NYC: means testing. If you made over $160K per year or paid more than $2000/month, you lost rent control. This would have to be indexed up to present levels, perhaps $4000/month or $300K per year. The alternative is to find sensible supervisors, and that will not happen until the proportion of owners increases in perhaps another generation or three. Few of the readers of this site will live that long.
Posted by: Conifer at February 1, 2010 1:35 PM
We need a combined proposition in which both Prop 13 and rent control are eliminated. Maybe one of these rich idiots who sponsor all of the inane propositions can put his/her money where his/her mouth is and truly support market principles.
Posted by: JimBobJones at February 1, 2010 1:59 PM
My only experience with rent control removal was when Cambridge, MA removed rent control in mid-late 90's. I left in 99, and by the time I returned in 06 investment in the area, blight removal, and (gasp!) lower rents were noticeable
Posted by: Mud at February 1, 2010 4:45 PM
Tax the renters.
In this weeks' SF weekly, a multi-generational rent controlled family was awarded 1.2 Million in court for moving out and then wanting to move back in. Opps we did not understand the law.
We are to feel sorry for the gal who had to quit law school because her rent, and her family lifestyle, was no longer esentially free, due to a lease signed in 1963, before she was even conceived.
Can we pass a law allowing landlords to refuse tenants who have working ovaries or not been appropriately vascestomized?
If the city wants to subsized housing, then reimburse the folks who are burdened by social engineering commitments that last for generations to come.
All small property owners (of which I am one) read this and are scared Jeff Zuckerless.
The notion that my family has to subsidize your family for every generation yet to be born is unsustainable.
This is the best way to kill the small property onwers.
I have been talking tp landlords and tenants for over 20 years. The best landlords are personally involved. Kill them off and it leaves only big families: San Giacamos & Lembis (for now),
and REITS like Avalon, who steer clear of anything rent controlled, in its' wake.
I know I am better landlord, property owner and property manager than any of these big guns.
My tenants will back me up on that claim 100%.
Samll business are amin street businesses.
Rent control is killing main street.
Posted by: Kathleen at February 1, 2010 6:51 PM
Where can we view this DBI property map, or find the addresses of these blighted properties? Is this map something socketsite put together, or is it available online? I was not able to find it on the DBI website. Thank you.
Posted by: marco at February 1, 2010 11:33 PM
To be honest D6 is not truly ground zero, D6 is just ground zero on a map that shows where abandoned or vacant properties have actually been filed, or where complaints have led to such distinctions with Department of Building Inspection. The real ground zero for abandoned or vacant properties is D10, where the blight comes not only from abandoned or vacant homes, but also vacant unkept lots, and empty industrial buildings.
I am a resident of D10 and have long complained about properties only to have DBI be as non-responsive as the homeowners who have not voluntarily registered. Over the last year i have submitted a long list of properties that are intended as vacant or abandoned (though known to have squatters living in them) or that are clearly blighted only to have DBI never open a complaint or start a file on the property. On DBI's own website they tell you to either call or send an email, however i have never gotten a live person on the phone when i called and emails seemed to have disappeared into the ether. At one point i even had a DBI inspector tell me that they are not really set up to act on email complaints which seems to really limit how this process can even start. For example i initiated a complaint in 2007 for a home at 2010 Keith St. which i knew to have squatters living in it, which i also knew the squatters were gutting it of all copper and wiring, not to mention the drug use, blight, etc etc. Finally a case was opened in 2007 only to have inspectors post notices on the outside of the house, despite being told that there were no legal tenants. Every few months a new notice would appear on the outside of the boarded up home only to be ripped down by the squatters. Finally i tracked down the inspector to challenge him on his efforts, and only at that time did DBI even look into contacting the owner directly. 2 years later, the owner finally got contacted! 2 years. The owner finally showed up to find his property gutted, after having been lived in without his knowledge. Not to absolve the owner, as he left it a boarded up property and blighted, but reading this article you have to wonder why the city would be surprised that property owners are not volunteering when the system in place wont catch them on it for years at a time.
If your a delinquent owner why pay $765 and upkeep if the city even with its "diligence" is not going to find you, or even fine you for 3 or more years. Clearly these owners are not invested in the communities with which their properties are located. If the City was serious about closing deficits, they might be wise to actually make their employees do the jobs they are paid to do, instead of going on about homeowners not volunteering and doing their jobs for them. Would it be okay for police to just sit in the station and wait for criminals to come turn themselves in? and with that in mind this is a law...it is a crime.
Marco asked about a list of blighted and abandoned properties...i too have asked for this list in the past and was told that it was not published for the general public. Amazingly some of the properties i have complained about for blight, i have actually received responses from DBI telling me that they are listed as abandoned. Case closed? apparently if you list it as abandoned or vacant, property owners dont have to care about blight...hmm, something is missing there. Then again how dare i expect DBI to actually do its job.
to see the complaint i initiated and where it stalled and went nowhere here is the link to DBI's complaint tracking site. Btw during this time notice that "Final Warnings" were sent, "Hearings" scheduled and yet only when they sought to actually directly contact the owner did something happen, too bad his house was gutted by then and now remains a shell that will need to be completely rebuilt.
Posted by: Rob at February 2, 2010 9:19 AM
Wow, that is some ordeal Rob. It looks like it took the DBI over 2 years to even try to find the owner of the Keith property. Good luck and keep up the fight. It seems as if neighborhood activists are actually driving these issues and D10 contains a lot of apathy.
In other news, it is funny how the Golden Gate Bridge tower on the header banner of the DBI website leans to the left.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 2, 2010 10:18 AM