As expected, the language for an ordinance which would require the public disclosure of all tenant buyout agreements in San Francisco, and prohibit buildings which are emptied by way of a buyout from being condo converted, has been drafted and proposed.

Sponsored by Supervisors Campos and Avalos, if adopted, the “Tenant Buy-Out Agreements” ordinance would:

  1. Require landlords to provide tenants with a disclosure of a tenant’s rights at least 45 days before the landlord commences buy-out negotiations;
  2. Require landlords to file a summary of the disclosure, as well as buy-out agreements, with the Rent Board;
  3. Require the Rent Board to post the summary disclosures and the buy-out agreements on its website;
  4. Authorize administrative enforcement proceedings, resulting in a fine for violations;
  5. Authorize tenants to bring civil actions for actual damages and a fine against landlords who fail to provide the required disclosure of tenants’ rights;
  6. Require the Rent Board to provide an annual report to the Board of Supervisors regarding tenant buy-outs; and
  7. Amend San Francisco’s Subdivision Code to prohibit buildings from entering the condominium conversion lottery if the owners of the building have entered into certain buy-out agreements

The ordinance is headed to the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use and Economic Development Committee for review.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by anon$random

    sounds like a violation of my first amendment rights, which sounds like something a complete communist would propose.

  2. Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

    With this new regulation, there’s is almost no downside to doing an Ellis eviction.

  3. Posted by Fishchum

    This is utterly moronic. If a landlord and a tenant both agree and consent to the buyout, on what basis is the condo being removed from the condo conversion process?

    • Posted by SFCitizen

      The current elected officials are concerned that with an increase in home owners and a decrease in renters that the landscape of San Francisco politics would shift. Hopefully to a more sane and stable environment.

    • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

      SFCitizen is correct. They want to prevent the conversion of rent controlled units into owner-occupied units.

      Also there’s a critical mass effect that rent control advocates might lose. With more buyouts happening around them, many fear the ground is collapsing from under their feet.

      Take a building with 10 rent controlled tenants paying minimal rent. If 9 are bought out, the last one has less bargaining power than when 10 low paying rent controlled tenants were there. He will get no support from his neighbors who pay market rent. Heck this last guy makes everything expensive for everyone else!

  4. Posted by gain_gone

    I assume the property owner will have to pay much less with an Ellis (half price?) So the only impact is going to be more Ellis and no buy outs.
    Don’t the Supervisors know this? or do they think that the property owners will decide to do nothing instead, thereby ‘saving’ the property for renters? Seems unlikely to me.
    The property owners are not going to lose much with this because the probability of a condo conversion within my lifetime is so small that it is not worth worrying about. The only losers are the tenants who would have received a higher payout.

  5. Posted by observant neighbor

    Wouldn’t it be easy enough to end-run this ordinance with a collusive lawsuit, in which the landlord sues the tenant or the tenant sues the landlord and the parties immediately reach a “settlement” under which the tenant vacates and receives a chunk of change?

    • Posted by fluffy

      Couldn’t the landlord could start an eviction with or without merit, sue for unlawful detainer and then settle?

  6. Posted by EcceMorons

    If John Avalos wants private agreements to be published online, let’s start with him publishing all details of his private extramarital affair with his staffer.

  7. Posted by fluffy

    If I were a tenant who negotiated an expensive buyout I doubt it would benefit me to have potential landlords see that information. As a landlord I would probably steer clear of any such tenant.

  8. Posted by R

    And of course, since these would now be public record, the landlord would be forced to 1099 the tenant, and then they’d get to pay taxes on their windfall.

  9. Posted by BigV

    this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard? Why the hell are people being penalized for mutually agreed upon contracts (i.e. buyouts) ???? I dont even begin to understand why this is an issue?

  10. Posted by Bill

    These foolish supervisors need to attend a city college 101 economics course, all this hate mongering between landlord and tenants they create has done nothing to lower rents, lower Ellis act eviction amounts or really done anything for the tenants they are so hell bent on helping. This is a waste of time and tax dollars. The answer here is so simple – remove the rent control on all new leases across the board, let everyone who has a current rent control apartment keep the rent control as long as they don’t violate leases and create a simple process for landlords to remove tenants not following the rules.

    Jane Kim is the worst, this fool actually supports and encourages squatters illegally holding taxpayers properties, her aid Sunny encourages folks to risk jail time submitting false claims to California fair housing and Hud, wasting even more tax dollars in their virtual witch hunt to punish evil landlords. These two should be behind bars not city hall.

    Chiu and Campos are equally indefensible and now Avalos seems to want some attention via removing the right for two parties to have a contractual agreement. Please do not vote for these idiots again, San Francisco and all it’s citizens deserve better.

  11. Posted by anon33

    When will rent controlled tenants should have their names, addresses and current rent paid published on a website?

    • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

      There should be an app for that

    • Posted by jill

      as well as their current income

      • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

        This will never happen. Informing the public about the reality of rent control in San Francisco would lead to the next logical step: asking some logical questions. The logical responses will follow.

        Nope, everyone has his head in the sand. Political minefield there. Please do not ask questions.

  12. Posted by Paco

    1. Often, the tenants are waiting and hoping for a buyout! 2. I really think with all of these crazy ideas and all of the homeless (that seems to increase every day – even though we spend more than any other city in the world on homelessness) that if there were a few much more moderate candidates to run for different offices, they would for sure win!

  13. Posted by FoRealz

    I agree w/ all of the provisions, except for the last one – and I’ve been through this 3 times as a renter in the last 10 years. It’s important to have transparency and data on what’s actually happening. I know many people who are intimidated by landlords into moving out and are not apprised of their rights. If SF turns into a bedroom community for the rich, many of us who make the place as special as it is will no longer choose to live here and it will be a detriment to all…including those of you who scream “communist” every time the BoS tries to do something to protect the little guy.

    • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

      What’s so special about some tenants that they deserve to pay 25% of market rate? Please humor us on how some deserve more than others for no other reason that a date on a lease. There is no means testing on rent control and it is therefore indefensible as a social engineering tool.

      • Posted by Anon

        because they were here first and they exist in good ole days slipstream

        • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

          I always find that “they were here first” is a pretty weak argument. Nobody stopped them from moving to SF back in the day, and long timers probably didn’t like the change they brought to SF at the time.

          Plus there’s a way for people to make sure their “we were here first” rights are respected: home ownership. But try and explain that to entitled tenants who have been protected from the real world by blind politicians.

        • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

          Well, it’s not just that they were here first. Someone who was here “first” but moved every year and thus lost the benefits of a long-term rent control lease (or Prop 13 if they bought on a serial basis) gets no “first” advantage.

          The key is that some people, through luck or real estate savvy, entered into a great contractual arrangement long ago that turned out to have been really, really smart. And they stuck with it. It was not inevitable that it would turn out that way. They made a really great deal. Same goes for people who bought a home here many years ago.

          Certainly we’re not going to start punishing people who made a great deal, are we? What’s next, confiscate all the gains of those who bought Facebook pre-IPO because, well, they shouldn’t get some advantage just because they were there first?

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            There’s a big difference between purchasing property and renting the same property.

            In the first case, your investment is substantial. You are taking a risk and making a long term commitment. You are also making this move because you want to protect your family against market fluctuations. But to do so you are risking your downpayment.

            For tenants, the only commitment is the first year. Then it’s month-to-month. You have NO original investment, NO risk whatsoever (especially with rent control!), you are not providing ANY safety for your family or building ANY equity (though in SF, the buyout is almost like a transfer in equity).

            Only in SF would someone think that renting gives you the same rights as owning. But overreaching laws are basically transferring equity little by little from the owner to the renter. Compounding this idiocy is the fact that renters will often pay less than market rate!

            But yeah, they’re savvy… Not. They’re just voting themselves free money, that’s all this is, really.

          • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

            Yes, and all this just demonstrates how smart and savvy long-term renters are. They played by the rules, entered a very good contract (even better because it gives them the option to leave if they want), and now they are being criticized for it. Cry me a river landlords. Next time, make a better deal, or perhaps get into a different line of work. Hey, another of these rules, the Ellis Act, lets you do just that! A statute that altered (i.e. lessened) the contractual rights of tenants under existing leases, by the way. Unfair?

            Now I agree with you that the rules are screwed up. Fine. Blame the politicians. Try to change the rules (good luck with that). But it is simply disingenuous to cast aspersions on the tenants who played by the rules and did well by doing so, while giving a pass to the landlords who played by the same rules and made a horrible bet.

            Finally, California has an anti-deficiency statute. Homeowners have the same “put.” They buy a place with a mortgage and the value goes down, they can just walk away and stick it to the bank (i.e. the taxpayers). Whereas if the value goes up they get to keep it all. No great honor in buying a home versus renting one. It has been the law for hundreds of years that tenants have a property interest in the place they rent. So this homeowners=good, renters=bad line is just unsupported.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            There’s nothing savvy in signing a lease. It’s a very passive action. Market rates are what they are. But rules are ensuring landlords get the shaft if they rent to a demographic likely to stick around too long.

            There’s a growing chasm between landlords and tenants because things are built that way. A tenant-landlord relationship is supposed to be symbiotic, a bit like lichen where 2 species will feed each other and thrive. Instead the system is designed so that one 1/2 of the partnership eats the other. Can we change it? Politically, this is not likely. But there are ways to extract yourself from this f–ed-up deal. I played my card by buying and doing corporate-style airbnb. My property used to have tenants in it a while ago. Under the current circumstances, I will make sure it never does again. Every landlord is wisening up and the economy is helping making sure there will be less and less rent control property on the market.

            Ellis is not a goal but a tool to achieve that. I have evicted tenants in the past but the way I am doing business I am very unlikely to ever evict again…

          • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

            san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol), you are smart. You have ascertained that you come out better doing short-term corporate rentals. Excellent. Other landlords, through miscalculation or simply not thinking about it, chose to enter into long-term rentals. And now they regret that decision and want out. All I’m saying is that these landlords are not “victims.” They made a legally-binding but bad deal and now want someone to bail them out of that bad deal. Nor are tenants “evil” or “selfish.” They made a legally-binding deal under the rules that the law placed on such arrangements, and now they are being criticized and called names for having done so.

            Yes, the rules are dumb, and in this case those dumb rules favor the tenants. But there are also a ton of dumb rules that favor landlords and homeowners:

            tax-free gains on a sale (up to 250/500k) for homeowners;
            can walk away and stick the mortgage to the bank/taxpayer;
            can sell via a 1031 exchange and delay taxes;
            property taxes capped at 1% plus just a tiny increase for life (plus you children’s and grandchildren’s lives) regardless of how much the property value increases;
            can depreciate (i.e. take a paper loss) of rental property and deduct the fake “losses” from your regular income and avoid taxes;
            can evict tenants and just get out of the business if you entered into a bad lease;
            Etc., etc.

            We all have to play by the rules. Arguably, the rules are seriously stacked in favor of landlords (yes, reasonable minds differ on that one — but who cares?) Landlords who gripe that rule-abiding tenants are “moochers” etc are entitled to precisely zero sympathy.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            Many of the rules that long term landlords have to suffer were added AFTER landlords decided to enter in the lease contract.

            Plus all these rules you are describing are common all around CA or the US. Nobody in America is lobbying against what you perceive as a “bias” for landlords. Why are San Franciscans so special they deserve rules akin to the protection of an endangered species? They don’t. They only voted themselves a protection status because they could. In a country of 65% owners this would never fly. But a City of 60% tenants can give itself free stuff.

          • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

            Whether or not all of these very landlord-friendly laws exist on a widespread basis does not change the fact that they exist! Basically, the playing field is skewed very favorably in favor of landlords. So those who entered into a bad deal are now complaining about duly-enacted laws that move the bar in the other direction and won’t let them escape their bad deal. No sympathy from me.

            The irony is that the local laws – rent control, restrictive planning/building, etc. – work to keep rents higher here than just about anywhere else by dramatically limiting supply. They are the landlord’s best friend! And yet they are the ones complaining the loudest, and not just the very few who are stuck with a pre-1978 lease who arguably have some better argument that the rules were fundamentally changed on them after the fact. Very funny to me.

          • Posted by parklife

            “Landlords who gripe that rule-abiding tenants are “moochers” etc are entitled to precisely zero sympathy”

            You make some excellent points, but please note that the reverse can also be true, i.e. Tenants who gripe that rule-abiding landlords (aka Ellis Act evicting landlords) are “greedy”, etc. are entitled to precisely zero sympathy. Yet the vast majority of media outlets portray such tenants as victims and the landlords as “greedy”, etc.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            JR,

            We’ve estimated a few days ago that 30% of all tenants pay 1/2 of market rent and less. We’re not talking about the small number of pre-1979 landlords, but a much greater number of landlords who got the carpet pulled from under them, with many of the new rules added in the past 15 years. Anytime there’s an exit strategy figured out by landlords, the BoS comes up with a new rule. Rinse, repeat, and see market rents get out of control while landlords become less and less eager to play along.

            Also, keeping repeating something again and again doesn’t make it true. The field is not slanted for landlords in SF, and by very far.
            All the reasons you listed are 1/2 truths. For instance amortization of rental property has an impact at time of resale. A 1031 exchange is only a postponement of tax, not the forgiving of this tax. A “walk away” does NOT apply to landlords in SF, since many have equity. You’re piling up apples and oranges in a very shoddy basket.

            Saying the field is slanted for landlords in SF using these fake excuses is a very socialistic point of view, akin to “ownership is theft”. You’re escaping some of my questions, in particular why would SF be so particular it needs endangered species status for tenants? Is there anything in the water that would entitle SF tenants to have more rights than Provo, UT or Tulsa, OK tenants?

          • Posted by anon2

            I agree with JR’s points above.

            I’d also add the existence of the 30-year mortgage to the mix. It provides an option just like a lease option in the sense that your bank must keep providing you with the initial fixed rate even if market rates go up, while you have the option of refinancing if rates go down. Is the difference between your current rate and market interest rates a “subsidy”? Do you get a 1099 every year for it? Can the bank just decide it wants to get out of business and call the loan due immediately simply because it could get a better return lending the money at current market rates?

            Add into the above that there *is* a massive government subsidy involved in keeping the initial 30-year mortgage rates down via government support of Fannie Mae and other support of the lending industry.

            “. You’re escaping some of my questions, ”

            As far as questions go, here’s one for you lol.
            As memory serves, you mentioned that you spent much of your time in SF as a tenant in a rent controlled apartment. When you were initially searching for lodging, had you seen an identical apartment not under rent control would you have been willing to rent it for the same rate as the one under rent control?

          • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

            I’ve addressed every point you’ve raised, lol. As to this specific one: “why would SF be so particular it needs endangered species status for tenants? Is there anything in the water that would entitle SF tenants to have more rights than Provo, UT or Tulsa, OK tenants?”

            That’s easy. We live in a democracy! Democratically elected representatives can enact laws, and in California the people can do so directly. People have the right to enact dumb laws and laws that favor one group over another (with exceptions – see U.S. Constitution).

            These “why should” questions are infinite. What makes homeowners in California so special that they avoid real property tax increases for life no matter how the value of their property skyrockets and without any means testing? Homeowners in other states don’t have that homeowner benefit. And that just means everyone else has to pick up the tax tab. Why should churches get tax exemptions? That just means those of us who are not religious pay more. I could obviously go on and on.

            You want to complain about the dumb rules? Have at it. But criticizing and name-calling of those who play by the rules, whether they be landlords or tenants, is simply weak.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            anon2,

            Agreed for your interpretation of the 30-y-old mortgage. The banks take a chance just like a SF landlord does and the difference between their cost of borrowing and the rate they will give you accounts for much of that risk. But buying is not renting. Buying is a personal commitment, since you have to have skin in the game. Renting has no specific personal commitment aside from “it would suck to pack and move”.

            To answer your question, I did rent for 2 years in a rent controlled apartment. I was living in a house in NV and a friend in Telegraph Hill was leaving her nice pad. Plus the landlord was happy to find a tenant and have no down time and accepted to charge us the older rent. Mr Nice Guy he is. My goal was always to purchase, and since the landlord is suffering from a degenerative disease I knew my lease was only temporary. It’s renting anyway.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            JR, good points. But acknowledging there’s an imperfect (or in that case, screwed up) situation doesn’t mean we should just accept and shut up. I resent having to pay for churches. I resent having to bail out banks and have to suffer the sequester 3 years later to pay for the bailout.

          • Posted by anon2

            The thrust of my question was really quantitative. Put another way, at what price differential would you be exactly on the fence between two identical units. One with and one without RC

  14. Posted by parklife

    “including those of you who scream “communist” every time the BoS tries to do something to protect the little guy”

    Except that this and many other things done by the BoS won’t help the little guy. There will be no reason to ever negotiate a buy-out with a tenant if the end result is the same as an Ellis. It will be all Ellis, all the time, if this goes into effect. And if the lawsuit is successful in overturning the new eviction payments, then tenants will be much worse off.

    These proposals, much like the “anti-speculation transfer tax” on the ballot only hurt the small landlords and actually benefit the large, corporate landlords. So I guess if you are happy renting a newish, small, overpriced apartment, you will love the new proposals.

  15. Posted by SFrentier

    new construct
    no RC
    chaaa-chiiing!!

  16. Posted by mike

    i find it notable when people who are worried about having to relocate claim to be part of the “fabric” of sf, that they are the ones who make it unique, not people with more money. what exactly do you do that merits a rent subsidy? if you told me that the city was going to subsidize housing for people who work in certain fields, specific nonprofits, teachers, artists (who *actually* produce something for the public good) etc. i’d be supportive. is it a given that people of less means are more interesting or contribute to a better city? i know low income people who do lots of cool things, play music, volunteer, etc. i also know rich people who do the same things. i’m not saying that money makes you a better neighbor at all, but does not having money do so necessarily?

    • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

      Agreed. I stopped believing this “social fabric” lie a long time ago. In the same vein is the association of poor with victim.

      Some people understood that if they made sad puppy eyes people would think twice before hurting them. The Noe Street tenant who invited the evictionfreesf circus played it very well. Claim disability, your deepest attachment to SF, get articles with the usual suspects. All that is missing is the wailing music that plays in war movies when you know innocents are hurt. and then Ka-Shing, out to the dry warm climate.

  17. Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

    parklife, I absolutely agree. The protesters, articles, etc. complaining about property owners following the law with respect to their property completely annoy me. I certainly shed no tear for these tenants. (That said, I am a human, and I feel for anyone who is scared, or broke, or suffers a loss, or is forced to make a major life change – landlord, tenant, or anyone else – but two wrongs don’t make a right).

    • Posted by parklife

      I think the major problem that we have here in SF is an inability to seek compromise with respect to modifying rent control to serve the greater good. Tenant activists and their political allies are one extreme, but so are some of the so-called speculators and their allies in the real estate industry. I think one of the tests of whether our politicians can find middle ground will come in the next several years as the mandatory soft-story seismic retrofits are completed. We are going to see a large number of pass-through rent increases that will generate all manner of tenant complaints with the inevitable calls to have landlords shoulder this cost alone. If history is any indication, the BoS will come up with various rationalizations as to why tenants should not bear any of this cost. If the BoS changes the provisions to exempt tenants from paying for these retrofits, will this be the tipping point for many landlords?

      • Posted by anon2

        So here’s my compromise.

        People clearly want stability in their housing costs. The support for Prop 13, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage and rent control all show that.

        The markets have shown that price stability can usually be provided and need not be tied to ownership of the underlying asset, though there is an associated cost to the price insurance or option.

        The markets also show that uncertainty/expected volatility can become very large over multi decade time periods. Which implies a very high cost to options/insurance over that time frame.

        Fortunately, while month to month changes in housing costs may be too disruptive, I don’t think anyone really needs lifetime stability (or 30 years stability for a mortgage). The marginal benefit of going from month to month stability to say a five year time frame is very high. The marginal benefit of going from 20 year to 30 year is much lower.

        That’s what makes the current system inefficient. The government mandates products that have a very high cost to provide yet produce a low marginal benefit to the consumer.

        Personally, I think a 5-7 year term would be about right, but I’d like to see the market sort that out.

        The commercial market already commonly employes longer term leases/lease options. And larger residential landlords sometimes offer differing rents for month-to-month vs longer leases, so this isn’t a radical concept.

        Implementation-wise I’d like too see government mandated rent control phased down say to 15-year, then 10-year, then 5-year. With experience and data from offering 5-year lease options under their belt, the RC mandate could be removed and the market would have the infrastructure to keep the offering available. i.e. Rent a unit month-to-month for $XX or with a 5-year lease option for $XX+YY.

        • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

          I would vote for it.

          Even better: simply have people pay market rent and develop an insurance system where people would purchase rent stability. If no insurance wants to take on this business opportunity, then let the City do it.

          Benefit for landlords: rents can follow market rate
          Benefit for tenants: rent stability

          Of course people could play the system. Landlords could apply crazy increases knowing that the insurance company would pay the difference. What the insurance company could do is shop around on the behalf of the tenant and suggest a relocation, ensuring the landlord will have to think carefully before increasing rents. It’s a bit complex, but if we have to maintain tenant stability AND a level field wit landlords, there’s no easy way.

          • Posted by Conifer

            No insurance company is going to sell such a policy. The city has no way to support this guaranteed losing bet. The only solution is means testing, as they did in NY, combined with limits above which rent control is not in effect.

            However, none of these things is going to happen until the Board of Supervisors has a majority of moderate, reasonable people.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            yes, we’re in the domain of pure of theory. The City and tenants have found the perfect cow they can milk virtually forever. That’s not going to change easily.

          • Posted by anon2

            “No insurance company is going to sell such a policy. ”

            People currently buy and lease out rent controlled units with what is effectively a lifetime lease option so why wouldn’t they keep doing the same when the term is reduced to 5-7 years?

            Now as far as if there will be a 3rd party market for underwriting these 5-7 year lease options. Maybe, Maybe not. As I point out above, longer lease terms are already common so there may not be a need for 3rd party re-insurance.

            In addition to lukewarm demand for this, as lol points out there are moral hazard and asymmetric information issues with regards to the condition and management of individual units. So general re-insurance may not happen.

            But look closer at what the real risk is for landlords. It isn’t rising market rents. It’s rising costs of which inflation can be a big factor. Fortunately, there’s a deep and liquid market for inflation derivatives and it would be trivial for larger landlords to re-insure themselves against the inflation risk.

        • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

          Yeah, I’d vote for any measure to eliminate RC, and this proposal is certainly fair and reasonable. But neither this nor anything similar will ever pass for the following reasons (making up the numbers, but in the ballpark):

          1) No long-term >15 yrs. RC tenants will ever vote to kill the sweet deal they have (~20% of the vote)

          2) Huge majority of medium-term RC tenants will vote similarly because they think they have a great deal (~20% X .9 = 18%)

          3) Big majority of short-term <5 years RC tenants will vote similarly because they think they have a good deal when in fact RC harms them (~15% X .8 = 12%)

          4) Majority of non-RC tenants will vote similarly because they think they get something out of RC when it actually harms them (~10% X .7 = 7%)

          5) A minority of owners will vote similarly because they are ultra-libs or just don't want anything to change, ever (35% X .33 = 11.5%).

          There you have it. 68.5% of SF will vote down any change in RC. Insurmountable majority. The supes know this, which logically explains their positions on this issue. This won't change unless and until we get about 400,000 more homeowners.

          • Posted by anon2

            Yeah, getting anything through the SF political process is a whole different beast, about which I haven’t got any good ideas.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            Your numbers assume that people are logical, self-preserving and are able to think without any influence from their emotions.

            The wildcard s perception. What the evictionfreesf Ellis circus show has taught us is that a very small phenomenon can be blown out of proportion and appear to be an epidemic. It works towards renter protection because (for the reasons you quoted) people perceive they benefit from rent control.

            It could work the other way around. Say a national news channel starts digging into a few horror stories (“Millionaire tenant paying $800 rent sues landlord over chipped paint while landlord collects foodstamps to feed family, or how the America Dream turns horribly wrong in San Francisco, more at 11).
            I know it’s a stretch. But I am certain one day a journalist will do his job and break ranks in the “evil landlord vs victim tenant” discourse.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            Interesting article in lefty MissionLocal today.

            Basically this is the kind of article that could have been on the side of “rent control is part of the problem”.

            For the lazy readers: Woman sells Tamales for decades, saved 100Ks, buys income property with subprime mortgage. Business model collapses under the weight of rent control. Maintenance is delayed.

            But the story is all about predatory lending, not that the business couldn’t work BECAUSE SHE TRIED TO DO IT IN SAN FRANCISCO.

          • Posted by anon2

            The real moral of the story is that the plight of the landlord is much like the plight of the restaurateur.

            Both are generally marginal businesses simply because there’s a relatively large number of people who can enter into them. As the article mentioned, in 2008 anyone could get a loan. And so anyone could bid up the price of property. The current rents and the nature of rent control were factored into the purchase price when she bought the place.

            Long term leases and rent control increase the variance of outcomes. One person may have signed a long term lease for their restaurant on Valencia St. far before it was gentrified and end up rolling in cash even running a average restaurant. Another may be bled dry by having signed a long term lease in a hip area only to see it’s popularity wane.

            Lot’s of variance in outcome, but the average outcome is driven down by the fact that there’s a large supply of people who can amass the skills and capital to start a restaurant.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            Yes, anon2, I agree with all your points. People without the proper training and who want to become entrepreneurs will follow on what they did all their lives but make a business out of it. Maid services, contractors, food services. Becoming a landlord is one other field where education is not a necessity, though basic math and economics would help for sure…

            But my point about rent control is still valid. Rent control poisons the well for wannabe landlords. But even if the well is poisoned the reality is that people are thirsty and will drink anyway.

            Now your rationale is that “why would people drink at a well that says “poisoned water”? My rationale is “why do we have a poisoned well in the first place”? I know it’s more complex than that because people who poisoned the well had good reasons to do so. Preserving their turf because “they were here first”.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme (formerly known as lol)

            I was also about to add something of the vein of “it’s the American Dream” but the reality is that SF is shielding itself from the America it doesn’t like, like chain stores and capitalism.

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