Scott Wiener’s housing straw man

By Calvin Welch : 48hills – excerpt

The senator misses the point — and the facts — when he attacks people who don’t think the private market will solve our woes

State Senator Scott Wiener, in a recent blog posting, attacked nameless critics of his efforts to produce more market-rate housing by removing local governments from the approval process if those local areas failed to meet regionally determined “housing needs.” Since all localities in the state currently fail to meet these needs, his legislation would, in effect, deregulate housing development all over California, since most housing regulations exist at the local level…

What Does Work? The voters of San Francisco and the Bay Area have an answer: market controls to keep existing housing within reach and public subsidies to build new housing they and their neighbors can afford. As argued earlier on these pages, the passage of more than $1 billion in bonds and sales taxes to build homes affordable to moderate income earners and people at risk of homelessness or homeless is sound public policy. Moreover, the passage of rent control measures is a rational response to a red hot real estate market. Continued effort to regulate Airbnb and other short term rentals is critical — the 10,000 STR’s in San Francisco just about equals the current vacancy rate for apartments. Imagine what would happen to rents if the vacancy rate were doubled because un-registered Airbnb listings were placed back on the rental market…. (more)

Might it be cheaper and easier to give landlords a reason to stay in the game? What would it take to make being a landlord easier and less stressful? Money is not the only thing that motivates people. Onerous laws and regulations and jumping through hoops gets old real fast, convincing many people to get out of the rental business and just sit on the property. As long as the values are going up, why sell?

What the Airbnb settlement means

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

Supervisors appear to be coming to terms with the need to keep people in their homes. Airbnb legislation is being followed by legislation to curtail illegal evictions by beefing up enforcement of the laws already in place. Photo by Zrants

I am going to let Doug Engmann, former chair of the Pacific Stock Exchange and president of the SF Planning Commission, make the point about the city attorney’s settlement today with Airbnb:

It’s a game changer. If other American cities follow San Francisco’s lead and hold Airbnb accountable for facilitating illegal activity, it could have a material impact on the company’s revenue and $30 billion valuation. Venture capitalists, private equity funds and institutional investors should be having second thoughts about an enterprise with a business model that ignores local laws, deprives working families of needed housing, and disrupts the lives of tenants, property owners and neighbors.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced yesterday that the tech giant had dropped its ill-conceived suit against the city. The city clearly had the upper hand: Cities can regulate land use; cities get to decide where hotels go and where residential areas go…(more)

Maybe it is the Donald that has removed a lot of the divisive politics from City Hall by reminding us what is important. Lately, the only disagreement is over the housing mix, density and height limits. Event the homeless are getting more sympathy these days. Airbnb settlement is just the tip of the nasty iceberg. Hopefully the Supervisors will continue to work together to solve the next round of nasty problems.

Tables Turned: High-Paid Techies Priced Out Of Silicon Valley

by CBS : youtube – excerpt (video included)

Too much money is not working out well for any of the workers, included the techies. Around 40% are not planning to stay in the Bay Area for long. Who will live in the city when the workers leave? Who will be paying high rents when robots replace them?

Investigative Unit: San Francisco Landlords May Have Wrongfully Evicted Hundreds of Tenants

This may be old news, but it bears repeating, especially now that the Supervisors are working to stop the illegal evictions. They may not agree on everything, but they all appear to be interested in protecting renters rights where the illegal evictions are concerned.

NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit exposes widespread abuse by landlords as part of a six-month investigation into evictions across San Francisco. The Investigative Unit found that nearly one in four owner move-in evictions could be fraudulent.

More than 8,000 people in San Francisco have been evicted from their homes over the past four years, but hundreds of those residents may have been wrongfully evicted, according to an analysis by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit.

Landlords can legally evict their tenants for one of 16 reasons, including failure to pay rent and housing too many roommates. One of the fastest growing evictions, however, allows landlords to kick out their tenants if they, or, in some cases, their relatives, want to move into the home.

Owner move-in evictions have spiked more than 200 percent in just the past five years. The Investigative Unit spent six months interviewing over 100 people all across the city to determine whether landlords or their family members are actually living in the homes they claimed to move into. The investigation revealed what appears to be widespread abuse that is now shocking residents, lawmakers, and even those who investigate wrongful evictions…

Here’s how to save thousands on your rent

The Investigative Unit mapped out every owner move-in eviction in San Francisco for the past three years. You can use the interactive map below to find evictions in your neighborhood. While many of these evictions are legal, if your address is listed and you are not a landlord or a relative of the property owner, someone may have been wrongfully evicted from that unit, which might entitle you to lock in the previous tenant’s cheaper rent.

If your address is listed, let us know about it by emailing us here. You should also submit an official request to the city to have your rent reduced… (more)

Check the interactive map on the linked page above to find out if you are in an illegal unit.

 

How to prevent fraudulent owner move-in evictions

By Tim Redmond : 48hills – excerpt

The San Francisco supes start discussing fraudulent owner-move-in evictions Friday, and local tenant groups are asking that both of the bills coming to the committee be amended to include more effective protections for renters.

Sup. Mark Farrell has an OMI bill. So do Sups. Jane Kim and Aaron Peskin. The Government Audit and Oversight Committee will hold a hearing starting at 10 am on eviction enforcement, and tenant advocates plan to be there in numbers…

The two bills are aimed at addressing what everyone agrees is a serious problem: Landlords are getting rid of rent-controlled tenants by arguing that they want to move in (or let a close relative move in) to the apartment. That’s legal, for the most part – the owner of a building has the right to live in their property.

But in hundreds of instances every year, the landlord tosses out the tenant, waits a few months, and then rents the place out to someone else at a much higher price.

And there’s no easy way to stop that…

This is one of the major tenant issues of the year. The bills won’t actually come out of tomorrow’s hearing; they will be heard at a later point. But we will see the beginnings of the debate shape up… (more)

 

Affordable housing program buys Richmond District building

By : sfexaminer – excerpt

A San Francisco city program that buys and preserves rent-controlled housing for tenants celebrated its first purchase Tuesday in the Richmond District and more than 100 purchases citywide since its start in 2014.

The three-story, five unit building at 4042 Fulton St. was acquired this month by the Community Land Trust with help from The City’s Small Sites Program, which provides funds for nonprofits to purchase and manage properties where long-term tenants are at risk of displacement…(more)

This is good news. We need to preserve what we have because it is the most affordable housing we will ever have.

SF officials and residents face off at heated meeting on homeless shelter

Laura Wenus : misisonlocal – excerpt

Crowd of people who didn’t get into the meeting were promised a second meeting. Photo by Zrants

At an emotional community debate Monday night some 200 Mission residents squared off with top city officials and one another over the burdens and benefits that a temporary homeless shelter will bring to a neighborhood severely impacted by tent encampments.

At issue is the city’s plan to place a Navigation Center – a low-barrier homeless shelter that offers its clients on-site access to supportive services – in a vacant lot and electrical building at 1515 South Van Ness Ave. The property will then be developed into mixed-use housing.

“People are stepping over homeless people, they are finding needles, this Navigation Center is only going to create a bigger problem because it is not a solution, it is only a patch on the problem,” said one nearby resident.

But those who spoke in support for the temporary homeless shelter at a Monday night’s public hearing, said any solution is better than the status quo…

“The decision has been made,“ said Ronen, adding that the Navigation Center will likely be up and running by June 1 and it will be open from six to nine months.  Last month, Ronen struck a deal with the site’s developer, Lennar Multifamily Communities, to allow city use of the space as a homeless shelter until construction permits for the 157-unit housing project are finalized…(more)