Back in 2008, a local real estate agent purchased a below market rate (BMR) one-bedroom condo on the eighth floor of the newly built SoMa Grand for $221,698.

As part of the purchase agreement for the affordable unit, the agent signed an affidavit affirming that he would occupy unit #812 as a principal place of residence and acknowledged that “BMR units are to be owner-occupied and never used as investment or rental property” per the terms of the affordable housing program.

But according to another housing related lawsuit filed by San Francisco’s City Attorney this morning, the agent, Gregory Garver, had rented the unit to a tenant from 2012 through mid-2016 for $2,400 a month.

Mr. Garver did reclaim the unit last year, however, having “raised the rent to $18,000 per month” at which point the tenant moved out. But according to the suit, Garver has continued to offer the unit for rent to various parties over the past year. At the same time, Garver has racked up nearly 200 complaints related to the behavior of his three dogs when they’re on the property, including “training the dogs in the hallway of the building to attack and bite,” for which he was successfully sued by Soma Grand’s HOA this past June.

The City is now seeking a court order to require Mr. Garver to comply with all the terms of the below market rate program, terms which include restricting any resale to a qualified low-income household as it would appear that the agent has been attempting to sell the unit (1160 Mission Street #812) as an unrestricted market rate unit as well.

In addition, the City is seeking “penalties of up to $2,500 for each unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent act by the defendant” as well as penalties of at least $200 per day for violations of San Francisco’s Planning Code which could total “hundreds of thousands of dollars” on top of attorney’s fees and enforcement costs.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Anon

    Wow I would never want to live in a BMR building.

    • Posted by Cynthia

      Why?

      • Posted by Anon

        I wouldn’t want to get mauled by a dog.

        • Posted by sfdragonboy

          Hate to burst your bubble but awhile ago a young woman got mauled to death by a dog in the hallway of her luxury Cow Hollow apartment building. My, how we forget…

        • Posted by Cynthia

          So you wouldn’t want to live in a BMR building because you’re afraid that you’d encounter a lethal dog?

          Where’s the info you used to make *that* determination?

    • Posted by Tony

      Because you can’t use it for fraud?

    • Posted by SFMichael

      It’s not a BMR building, it’s a BMR unit. The majority of the building (80% to 90% I believe) is market rate.

      • Posted by SocketSite

        Unit #812 is one of 29 designated BMR units within the 246-unit building.

      • Posted by Anon

        Sorry, I meant a building with BMR units in it (as opposed to a market rate only building).

    • Posted by Chris

      It is not a BMR building–a minority number of the units are BMR to meet the city’s mandatory affordable housing requirement. The vast majority of the units are market rate and rather pricey.

  2. Posted by 101

    How about criminally prosecuting this guy for fraud and misrepretation. Make him sell the property back to the City at a loss.

    But, the liberal snowflakes in this City would never do that.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      It appears the city is seeking statutory penalties, instead of made up penalties from some random person on the internet.

      Definitely because they’re liberal snowflakes. Real Americans would screw the actual law and make up some stuff.

    • Posted by Wagnerian

      Jesus Christ. The contortions people go through to slag San Francisco.

    • Posted by Condo Boy

      First we’re snowflakes, then we’re violent liberal fascists, now we’re snowflakes again? Make up your mind.

  3. Posted by SFLandlord

    Government bureaucracy once again creating opportunity for unscrupulous individuals.

    • Posted by Gus

      Lack of government bureaucracy also creates opportunity for unscrupulous individuals. He clearly broke a bunch of agreements and laws and can be prosecuted. It’s just a shame the enforcement is not as efficient and effective as it could be.

      • Posted by curmudgeon

        agreed! there should be more investigation of this kind of behavior.

    • Posted by ess

      This is “Did you see what she was wearing?” logic. It’s on the person not to commit fraud, but maybe I don’t understand and you think contract law should be eliminated?

    • Posted by Chris

      How is someone breaking the law the government’s problem? If you speed, you break the law. If you kill someone, you break the law. If you sign a contract to purchase an affordable housing unit and then rent it out for profit, you break the law.

      Unscrupulous individuals create opportunities for themselves to behave unscrupulously. This is solely this man’s fault, and he is now being held accountable for his illegal behavior.

  4. Posted by Anon123

    If they wern’t going to enforce the law and prosecute this guy, why would they require them to be build? BMR units are only for unscrupulous individual?? Take the money he “stole” + penalties and toss him in the street.

    • Posted by Patrick

      The BMR program had been very mismanaged for a long time. At one point the Mayor’s Office of Housing had no idea of how many BMR units there were or where they were located. A number of units left the program. I think they are better now.

  5. Posted by condoshopper

    we only hear about the most egregious cases of BMR abuse; there must be tons of it going on that is either undetected or not worth proscecuting or not worth reporting.

  6. Posted by Amewsed

    Two words: Diane Whipple (regards to the three dogs.)

    • Posted by Anon123

      Yes, he should loose custody of the dogs as well!

  7. Posted by Dave

    It’s hard to know if lots of BMR abuse is going on. As I understand it, a BMR owner has to certify each year that they are living in the unit. I assume that would be under penalty of perjury. I guess (hope) the City does spot checks on these units over time – just signing off is not always a guarantee of compliance. Too, it seems this would be somewhat self-policing. If a non-BMR owner in a complex learns a BMR owner is renting their unit out I have to assume they’d report it – or bring it to the attention of the HOA. Same for BMR owners who see abuse – abuse hurts the whole BMR concept.

  8. Posted by Patrick

    Here’s the deets on Garver from the Bureau of Real Estate. Given his behavior, I’m surprised no one has gone after his license up until now.

    License Type:
    BROKER

    Mailing Address:
    PALM DESERT, CA 92260

    License ID:
    01716531

    Expiration Date:
    11/25/17

    License Status:
    LICENSED

    Broker License Issued:
    11/21/05

    Main Office:
    1160 MISSION STREET
    812
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103

    DBA
    Brokers USA
    ACTIVE AS OF 06/14/2010

    Branches:
    1160 MISSION STREET
    SUITE 812
    SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94103

    Comment:
    NO DISCIPLINARY ACTION

    NO OTHER PUBLIC COMMENTS

    >>>> Public information request complete <<<<

  9. Posted by john downey

    People like this should be jailed so that they serve as an example. Simply disgusting.

  10. Posted by Pfffttt

    I wouldn’t purchase in ANY building with BMR units.

    • Posted by Chris

      Most new buildings have them. Developers are required by law to either include affordable housing units in the development or pay a higher fee to have them built elsewhere.

      There is nothing wrong with a BMR unit, and it does not attract any more problems than any other unit. Someone who is working and can afford to pay at least a few hundred thousands dollars is just as responsible as someone who is working and can afford to pay a million dollars. And, all the BMR units have to pay HOA fees, at the same rate as all of the market units. It is not like they move some homeless person in off the streets.

      Take your wig off, Marie Antoinette, and stop being a snob.

      • Posted by SFRealist

        There are BMR units in my building. Guess what? The people who live there are just like anyone else.

      • Posted by Freeloader

        My kid’s (overeducated?) preschool teacher rents a BMR unit in NEMA. Oh the horror.

  11. Posted by Willow

    BMR program is a really bad idea particularly wrt condos. The city are picking a very few ‘lucky’ winners with the limited resources it has available. Scrap the entire program and provide an equal subsidy to all those qualified to meet the criteria for below market housing with the funds that are available.

    It’s a dumb system that is open to fraud and difficult to administer.

    • Posted by Kevin Smith

      Yes, it’s simply a totally undeserved windfall for a specially singled out few. The city should be sued for labeling it “inclusionary” it’s actually very exclusive.

      • Posted by Mark F.

        I favor eliminating the BMR ownership program. Property ownership is not some inalienable right. (And you don’t actually fully own your unit as the resale price is controlled)

        • Posted by jimbo

          agree. BMR should only be for rental.. And on mr. garvey. would like to see him doing some jail time for this, and please take his dogs away

      • Posted by Dr. House

        Exactly. The fact that they even call them “lotteries” when they pull the names out of a hat to determine who gets the windfall in each new building should be a big hint that it’s precisely that. Meanwhile most of the city’s working people get zero help even paying their rent.

  12. Posted by Have Some Integrity

    Speaking as someone inside Soma Grand for the past several years and having interacted with Mr. Garver on many occasions I will say this – the man is very misunderstood.

    True that he has not complied with BMR regulations regarding the leasing of his unit and attempt to sell for market rate, and will be held accountable for such. However, an excess of 200 complaints is in actuality a grand collection of staff emails comprised of common sightings of himself around the property: entering the lobby, getting coffee, speaking to anyone, what he said, what he did, at all times.

    His dogs, which did violate the CC&Rs by breed restriction, were of particular interest even long after they were removed by court order. The notion that he trained his dogs to attack and bite in the halls is false. Mr. Garver had complete control of his dogs at all times and there was never such a complaint that he was training them otherwise nor was this ever witnessed by staff.

    This is a smear at the behest of the property manager who has nothing better to do than compile empty claims against this reclusive man who she regularly referred to in private as “an asshole and a dangerous person” to staff because he had been rude to her previously.

    Complaints made by actual residents were comprised mainly by the Board of Directors numbering 5 and a handful of neighboring units numbering 10 at best. The remainder of said complaints were that of staff forced to record Mr. Garver’s every casual move. On more than several occasions throughout 2016 and 2017 did the property manager state that every staff sighting email was important to “build a case” against Mr. Garver, however mundane. Even after his dogs were removed and he was noticeably less of a nuisance in his behavior and attitude he was permanently labeled by the property management as an undesirable and was overly scrutinized.

    I am disappointed to have learned this kind of gossip about Mr. Garver has found a place on Socketsite seeing as the highest priority of CitiScape Property Management is to respect and protect residents’ privacy and personal lives. Not to lie about and slander them.

    • Posted by frozentoast

      His actions make him “an asshole” and probably a criminal. Karma’s a b**ch

    • Posted by Anon123

      Thank you for giving the other side to the story, which still includes violations on several accounts. His actions speak for themselves…

    • Posted by john downey

      Have some Integrity—your client, and I am suspect he may be, is LIABLE for this white collar crime. He is NOT a victim here. The facts are that he knowingly broke the law. Now if the City would actually follow through and punish him, with jail time, it would be the perfect end.

      • Posted by Have Some Integrity

        Mr. Garver is not my client and he is very much guilty of what has been detailed in the suit regarding his BMR unit. There is no dispute. But I find it disingenuous of the property management to further attempt to paint his character as a violent dog owner and an otherwise danger to others, which there was never any evidence to suggest. Mere conjecture that the dogs were not well kept and one early occasion he refused to make small talk with the property manager as he moved past her which she claims “he pushed her”. She was never pushed, I was there at the occurrence.

        Mr. Garver will stand for his crime but he still deserves his privacy and to not be misrepresented.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      Please keep in mind that SOMA Grand’s HOA successfully sued Mr. Garver with respect to the dogs and the (184) complaints and outcome were attached to the City Attorney’s action with respect to the alleged affordable housing fraud.

      Had the issue been unrelated gossip and outside the scope of the affordable housing suit we wouldn’t have included it above.

      • Posted by Have Some Integrity

        1. The dogs have nothing to do with him renting out his BMR unit or selling it for market rate. The case against him for the dogs violating CC&Rs was settled and he has respected and abided by that court order.

        2. Mr. Garver was not a violent dog owner to begin with. The statement about his training to attack is a fabrication by management and does not belong on the site.

        3. Go after Mr. Garver for the facts and only the facts. If someone has to rely on smearing to make a case juicy, they’re overstepping and need to reevaluate their moral ground – the property manager, Judith Roddy, IN PARTICULAR.

        • Posted by Anon123

          Your naming of the property manager who isn’t part of this article or the City of San Francisco law suit shows a great lack of integrity.

    • Posted by Brisket

      Sorry but having “10 at best” complaints (excluding the other 174 “mundane complaints”) made against the guy is hardly a strong defense. I’ve lived in my house for 12 years with zero complaints by my neighbors.

    • Posted by jimbo

      “Complaints made by actual residents were comprised mainly by the Board of Directors numbering 5 and a handful of neighboring units numbering 10 at best”

      umm, i know you are trying to point out that there were only a few legit complaints, but reread what you wrote. 15 “real neighbors’ complaints” is a helluva lot

    • Posted by SFRealist

      As a PR flack whose words are surely being reviewed by a lawyer, you have a problem when your ‘defense’ is that he ‘only’ has 10-15 complaints! 🙄

  13. Posted by SciLaw

    So were your interactions with Garver between 2008 and 2012? Or between 2012-2016 when he was allegedly renting his unit out? Are you saying he wasn’t renting his unit out? Why visit the property with 3 dogs when you’re renting it out? Fascinating….

  14. Posted by unlivable city

    There are a LOT of BMR units on airbnb in San Francisco.

  15. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Who are “Does one through fifty” as listed as defendants on the cover page? Are there actually 51 defendants in this case? I’m probably just naively parsing this text.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      It’s a typical catch-all:

      “Defendants DOE ONE through DOE FIFTY are sued herein under fictitious names. Plaintiffs do not at this time know the true names or capacities of said defendants, but pray that the same may be alleged herein when ascertained.

      At all times mentioned, each Defendant was an agent, servant, employee, partner, franchisee, and joint venturer of each other Defendant and at all times was acting within the course and scope of said agency, service, employment, partnership, franchise, and joint venture.

      Actions taken, or omissions made, by Defendants’ employees or agents in the course of their employment or Agency for Defendants are considered to be actions or omissions of Defendants for the purposes of this Complaint.”

      • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

        Thanks. So this array of DOEs is a placeholder to slot in defendants found between the filing and the actual trial. Prosecution can drop any or all before the trial I guess. Quirky yet pragmatic. Thanks for the explanation.

  16. Posted by @pablocela

    “Shadeball, party of 1, please”

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