Hard Times Handbook - Page 5

Our guide to living better, for less, in the recession


3158 Mission, SF. (415) 282-3352. www.elriosf.com


Japanese businessmen have a reputation for sealing big deals utterly, blackout snookered. Something about how you can only really know a man when he's being slapped by the waitress for being fresh or passed out drooling on your suit jacket. At any rate, sushi restaurants like to get you drunk. Check out Kyoto, where the anytime special of draft Sapporos for 99 cents will compel you to raise one to the salaryman.

1233 Van Ness, SF.(415) 351-1234. www.kyotosushi-sf.com


Now here's a multitask for you: get drunk, listen to good music, and wash your clothes. Only one spot in the city where that's a go — and to celebrate the lineup of fresh tunes and clean threads, Brain Wash Laundromat is offering $1 Pabst during happy hour and $3 wine glasses all the time. Drop by for its acoustic open mic nights Tuesdays at 7 p.m.

1122 Folsom, SF. (415) 861-3363. www.brainwash.com


Not only does this sunny, warm café serve the most bangingest breakfast burrito and plethora of bean blends in the city, the folks there have a soft spot for the low-income set. Bean Bag proves it with $1.75 Stella Artois and 21st Amendment beers on tap; just the ticket for easing your way through that mid-afternoon caffeine-booze transition. Just don't spill on the laptop and you're golden, you pillar of the community, you.

Bean Bag Café. 601 Divisadero, SF. (415) 563-3634 *


How to fight foreclosure

By Caitlin Donohue

You've finally found your dream home, an apartment so well-loved even you can afford it. You settled in, cleaned the carpet, set the mouse traps ... and then the eviction notice arrives: your landlord's been foreclosed on. And the bank that owns the place now wants you out.

It's happening a lot in this city, where tenants get caught in the financial meltdown through no fault of their own. But don't panic: in most San Francisco buildings, foreclosure isn't a legal grounds for eviction. But you'll have to stand up for your rights.

Here's what the San Francisco Tenants Union advises:

If you sense your landlord's at the brink of foreclosure, watch for telltale signs: realtors checking out the property or repairs that go unresolved. Keep in mind that lack of money is no defense for maintaining property, so call the Department of Building Inspections at 415-558-6200 for help with holding property-owners to their repair responsibilities.

Once the eviction notice due to foreclosure arrives, find out if you are covered by rent control. If you aren't (if your rental was built after 1979 then you definitely aren't) the bank has the power to evict you within 90 days. If you do have rent control, you have eviction protection. This means the bank can't evict you or raise your rent.

Unfortunately, the bank might not know that if it's based outside the city or state. Ignore the letters to vacate and contact the bank of its property agent directly to let them know you have protection. Then file a wrongful eviction petition with the SF Rent Board, which also handles cases from Oakland, Berkeley and West Palo Alto (forms available at the office at 25 Van Ness, SF or online at www.sfgov.org/rentboard).