Supe. Chiu Proposes Tenants Buy Their Buildings

A woman marching for housing rights stops on Mission Street to listen to speakers talk about the luxury condos being constructed where the Giant Value store once stood. Photo by Molly Oleson

A woman marching for housing rights stops on Mission Street to listen to speakers talk about the luxury condos being constructed where the Giant Value store once stood. Photo by Molly Oleson

Board of Supervisor David Chiu proposed Tuesday that tenants get the right of first refusal when their buildings go up for sale.

In similar legislation adopted in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, MD and the State of Florida,
tenants are provided notice that the property will be up for sale and have a specified amount of
time to match sale terms offered by another party.

“We need to do more to put housing in the hands of San Francisco tenants who are in danger of
being evicted by speculative investors,” said Supervisor Chiu.

When exercised successfully, two outcomes would be created:
• Stabilizing the existing residential diversity in our neighborhoods; and
• Creating long-term, affordable, workforce homeownership or rental housing

 READ MORE.

Here is a link to the law in Baltimore. And information on the Washington D.C. law, known as the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase act, can be found here.

19 Comments

  1. John

    But tenant can do that now. Tenants get notified when a building is for sale because they are notified when the viewings are. There is no need for a law to allow tenants to buy a property.

    In fact I know a tenant who bought their building when it went into foreclosure.

    As a landlord, I really do not care who buys as long as I get my price and they can deliver. So, tenants, what are you waiting for? Quit whining and get winning.

  2. mission resident

    Think about it, the only folks that would benefit from this are those folks that can afford a much more expensive place to live, but have been hoarding a rent-controlled apartment. The only reason they haven’t bought already is because their rent is so low, it doesn’t make sense. If they have enough money to make a down payment and pay a mortgage, they should have been out of the rent-controlled apartment a while ago. The only reason they haven’t bought is because there rent is way below market value allowing them to milk the system. Why would we make a law to help these people? They are the ones that should be giving up their rent-controlled apartment to someone who is truly in need. We need means testing for rent-controlled apartments.

    • bp

      Means testing? Have you thought about the consequences of this at all? If you want landlords to have even more reason to choose younger, well-off tenants over older, poorer ones, then by all means, add means testing to rent control.

      • John

        NYC means tests their rent control system, arguing that assistance in paying the rent should only be given to those in genuine need, and not to everyone regardless.

        Knowing which tenant to choose is an art but there is a lot more to it than just picking someone affluent. Indeed, affluent folks can be the worst as they have a sense of entitlement, are often educated enough to aggressively pursue their “rights”. And they are just as likely to squat and use the money to buy a Tahoe ski cabin while keeping their RC deal forever.

        Older tenants may be less likely to move on. And if they are renting at 40, they are probably renting for life.

        Than again, if they are very old, they can be a good bet. I bought one building with a 72 year old tenant paying a very low rent. But I was playing the long game and figured he wouldn’t be around forever. He may still be around but then a broken hip meant he could no longer climb the stairs. He moved out and that was that.

        If you want a pen picture of the worst tenant to choose, it would be twenty-something trust-fund kid from back east who works for the city or a non-profit, is a socialist, is active politically and acts like a smartass. A public interest lawyer is probably the very very worst you can do.

        After a while, you get to figure out who has a life and will actually move on in a few years. Despite all the noise, most tenants do move on after a few years, and keep these buildings viable.

        • landline

          A man’s broken hip was your gain in the “long game.”

          Disgusting, sociopathic behavior. And to brag about it as well. No wonder you are socially isolated with writing internet comments a major source of your human interaction; a veritable virtual human being without actual humanity.

          • John

            What? It’s not like I broke his hip. He fell.

            The point, since you obviously missed it, is that there is not necessarily a prejudice among landlords for older tenants.

            If you lack basic comprehension skills then no wonder you are socially isolated with writing internet comments a major source of your human interaction

          • landline

            I have a rich social life. You are a economic predator. “It’s not like I broke his hip.” Fortunately, sociopathy and lack of compassion are not the default state for most people, although certain professions attract sick people.

          • John

            Someone with such a hateful disposition cannot possible have a rich social life.

            Again, I was simply pointing out that older tenants can be good tenants, even though in theory they have extra protections.

          • landline

            You prove your own point. Don’t you need to check on your tenants just in case one of them died and you can rent out the newly vacant unit at a higher rent?

          • John

            I’ve never had a tenant die on me. It’s more common for older tenants to go into care at a certain point.

            In NYC, where there is a form of vacancy control, people read the obits in the NYTimes and beg the grieving relatives to let them take over their rent-stablized apartment.

            But of course that is tenants doing that so you presumably don’t think it morbid.

            Everyone is looking for an angle. You’re just annoyed that you’re not smart enough to find one.

          • poor.ass.millionaire

            You two are funny…

          • C. Russo

            You nailed it, Landline. Classic case of sociopathic landlord contempt for the people who write them monthly checks for years one end. “I was playing the long game and figured he wouldn’t be around forever.” Fucker’s counting the minutes.

          • poor.ass.millionaire

            ^ I think that’s a cheap shot at John. He wasn’t hoping for I’ll will on his tenant. He just gave an example of what can happen with an older tenant, as the common reaction among most LL’s is to avoid older tenants like the Black Plague.

          • landline

            “Than again, if they are very old, they can be a good bet. I bought one building with a 72 year old tenant paying a very low rent. But I was playing the long game and figured he wouldn’t be around forever. He may still be around but then a broken hip meant he could no longer climb the stairs. He moved out and that was that.”

            Just a reminder that resident sociopath John did not rent an apartment to a prospective elderly tenant, he bought the apartment building in which an elderly tenant already lived as a “good bet” in a “long game.”

            One man’s broken hip is another man’s fatter wallet.

            Everyone is not looking for an angle. That statement is a justifcation by a rentier who lives off other people’s wages and surplus value.

          • John

            Again, landline, you missed my point. When you buy a building, you perform due diligence on many things and, for a rental building, that means the existing tenants.

            Each tenant completes an estoppel, which gives the buyer information about themselves, their tenancy agreement, and any rights or special protections that they claim.

            You base your decision partly on that data. And some buyers will step back if they see older tenants, because those over 62 enjoy extra protections, such as the inability to do an OMI, or up to a year’s notice required for an Ellis.

            I was making the point that older tenants can be a good thing too, and therefore historically I have shown no prejudice against taking them on by buying a building where they reside.

          • You forget that this is is this is a food chain planet?

  3. poor.ass.millionaire

    As for this legislation, practically speaking it’s a balljack, but maybe it will assuage some tenant whiners by putting more regulations on the books in their favor. Empty calories.

  4. Pamela

    TICs – Best idea ever!

    • John

      The best thing about TIC’s is that you need nothing from the city to form them, and the city can do nothing to stop them.

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