Supervisors’ Proposal Escalates Renter-Owner Tensions

30 01 2013



20130128_CondoConversionRallyAndHearingSF_OperationLIfeboat388QueenStW_Smooke_Joseph_-15-590x392Leaders from Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) and Community Tenants Association (CTA)

“It’s shameful that this ordinance pits San Franciscans against each other when they are all saying that they want to stay here,” said a Community Organizer for Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation (TNDC), Hatty Lee. The City Controller estimates that close to 1,900 units would convert from apartments to condos under this one-time bypass, roughly equivalent to 10 years of annual conversions through the lottery process. The proposed increase of allowable condo conversions would result in an accelerated loss of rent controlled units.

HRSFs Director Sara Shortt said the proposed legislation creates an “incentive for more evictions in the City.” When units are converted into condos they are worth roughly 15 percent more according to the City Controller. If they are sold empty, they are worth even more. “There’s hundreds of thousands of dollars to be made from selling a condo after it was previously a TIC. It raises the property value tremendously. No one can tell me that isn’t part of the incentive in wanting to change this law,” Shortt said.

While many renters empathized with the concerns of TIC owners, they criticized the legislation for targeting them and not the banks. “If you are serious about helping TIC owners who are facing financial or mortgage issues, you would address those directly through those owners and the banks,” said Co-Director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations (CCHO), Fernando Marti. Because the proposed legislation attempts to address the financial hardships of TIC owners by effectively reducing available rental units without any replacement, this ordinance could not help but pit residents against each other.

Supervisor Jane Kim said in her closing remarks, “TIC home ownership is absolutely something we do not want our City to encourage. One thing we can not get enough of is rent control units. That is a depleting stock.” Kim proposed that the legislation could be amended to have a ban on the sale of the units for 5 or 10 years after conversion to ensure that any TIC converted would be lived in by the owner and not flipped for a profit.