Set at 80 percent of the combined land and structure values of single-family homes in San Francisco, the threshold for “demonstrably unaffordable and financially inaccessible housing” in the city is now $1,506,000, up from $1,342,000 ten months ago.

While merging units in a building where the least expensive unit is over the $1,506,000 threshold of “affordability” in San Francisco will continue to be allowed as “the loss of demonstrably unaffordable housing does not affect the City’s current shortage of housing that is financially accessible for the majority of the City’s population,” the Planning Department has drafted a new policy with respect to the merger of a unit under the $1.5 million mark:

For all mergers in buildings with three or more units where at least one of the units is valued under $1.506M, the Department will recommend that the current housing affordability crises creates an “exceptional and extraordinary” circumstance such that the Commission should deny the merger request and preserve the independent unit.

The new policy will be presented to San Francisco’s Planning Commission next week.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by DCR

    We just had staff deny a dwelling merger of a two unit building in an RH-1 (single family) zoned lot and they sited the housing crisis as the reason. Problem is we met 4 of the 5 criteria AND the building was Ellis Acted before the current owners took occupancy so neither unit is eligible to be rented…or sold independently (without some sort of TIC agreement).
    Since it is a 2 unit building in an RH-1 Planning also won’t let them expand both units. They have to choose one and the other is a non-conforming legal use that can never be expanded.
    Interesting to see that the article above notes buildings with 3 or more units yet they clearly told us the same for a 2 unit.
    Fun times!

  2. Posted by sigh

    Perhaps the ruling was correct, DCR, but the reason was wrong. There is no merger in a building for 10 years following an Ellis eviction.

  3. Posted by DCR

    I don’t think that’s totally accurate. We did one last year that was Ellis Acted with no problems and is now a single family home.
    The Ellis Act doesn’t allow you to return the property to a rental property for 10 years, but I am not aware of it dovetailing with any dwelling merger rules in SF.

  4. Posted by Invented

    ANYTHING to avoid the City’s responsibility of years of conservative growth, under building and underzoning even in 2014.
    It almost gives the impression they are DOING something.
    Mergers, VRBO — oh the possibilities! for scapegoating.
    Let’s see who’s targeted next week.
    As if.

  5. Posted by Conifer

    Does any other city in the western world have regulations like this?
    San Francisco used to be mocked for its liberal policies. Will the new target be its preposterous claims on what is “affordable”? This $1.5m would seem to be fodder for late night comedians,

  6. Posted by Diverj

    1.5MM is “affordable”, yet the income cutoff for affordable housing is sub $50K. Clearly the middle class is getting absolutely #$%&ed, but the politicians have zero plan for that problem.

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