Out of place

Evictions are driving long-time renters out of their homes -- and out of SF. Here are the stories of several people being evicted

|
(414)

news@sfbg.com 

In his State of the City address last week, Mayor Ed Lee cheerfully characterized San Francisco as "the new gravitational center of Silicon Valley." He touted tech-sector job creation. "We have truly become the innovation capital of the world," Lee said, "home to 1,800 tech companies with more than 42,000 employees — and growing every day."

From a purely economic standpoint, San Francisco is on a steady climb. But not all residents share the mayor's rosy outlook. Shortly after Lee's speech, renowned local author Rebecca Solnit published her own view of San Francisco's condition in the London Review of Books. Zeroing in on the Google Bus as a symbol of the city's housing affordability crisis, she linked the influx of high-salaried tech workers to soaring housing costs. With rents trending skyward, she pointed out, the dearth of affordable housing is escalating a shift in the city's cultural fabric.

"All this is changing the character of what was once a great city of refuge for dissidents, queers, pacifists and experimentalists," Solnit wrote. "It has become increasingly unaffordable over the past quarter-century, but still has a host of writers, artists, activists, environmentalists, eccentrics and others who don't work sixty-hour weeks for corporations — though we may be a relic population."

LIMITED OPTIONS

The issue of housing in San Francisco is highly emotional, and there is perhaps no greater flashpoint in the charged debate than Ellis Act evictions.

When the housing market bounces upward, Ellis Act evictions tend to hit long-term tenants whose monthly payments, protected by rent control, are a comparative bargain. Even if they've submitted every payment on time and upheld every lease obligation for 20 years, these renters can find themselves in the bind of being forced out.

And they don't just lose their homes; often they lose their community. San Francisco has become so expensive that many Ellis Act victims are tossed out of this city for good.

Enacted in 1986, the state law allows a landlord to stop renting units, evict all tenants, and sell the building for another purpose. Originally construed as a way for landlords to "go out of business" and move into their properties, the Ellis Act instead gained notoriety as a driving force behind a wave of evictions that slammed San Francisco during the tech boom of the late 90s. Between 1986 and 1995, just 29 Ellis evictions were filed with the San Francisco Rent Board; in the 1999-2000 fiscal year alone, that number ballooned to a staggering 440.

Under the current tech heyday, there are indications that Ellis Act evictions are gaining fresh momentum. The San Francisco Rent Board recorded 81 this past fiscal year, more than double that of the previous year, and there appears to be an upward trend.

TIC CONTROVERSY

Buildings cleared via the Ellis Act are typically repackaged as tenancies-in-common (TIC), where several buyers jointly purchase a multi-unit residence and each occupy one unit. Realtors often market TICs as a path to homeownership for moderate-income individuals, creating an incentive for buyers to enter into risky, high-interest shared mortgages in hopes of later converting to condos with more attractive financing.

The divide between TIC owners and renters came into sharp focus at a contentious Jan. 28 hearing, when a Board of Supervisors committee met to consider legislation that would allow some 2,000 TIC units to immediately convert to condos without having to wait their turn in a requisite lottery system.

Comments

Can't remember it's name - runs east-west - but it's got bars, restaurants, boutiques etc.

Pearl District isn't too bad, like SOMA.

The rest is pretty grungey, and with worse weather of course. But hey, if that's all Weissman and marcos can afford . .

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:23 am

Marcos will love the nine months a year of rain.

He can keep reminding himself that July, August, and September are nice, if nothing else.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:32 am

That sound familiar?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:49 am

Poor imitiation of SF, but not too bad either.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:23 pm

"Poor imitiation of SF, but not too bad either."

I rent a small house near Hawthorne for less than a thousand bucks a month.

I'll take the poor imitation, thanks.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:44 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:00 pm

I'd prefer we buy in Tabor South or FoPo, maybe a bit further in if the package is appealing. It is all pretty flat between there and most places in SE that you want to go, so bicycling is pretty feasible,

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

"I'd prefer we buy in Tabor South or FoPo"

Ah, you don't have as much money as Weissman, do you?

You live that far east, and you are going to be finding a **lot** more working class/immigrant/lowlife types than you do in the yuppie paradise of Hawthorne, et. al. (Still no black people, though.)

You may be hoping that the demographic in those areas eventually becomes "you", but it is a long way from being that yet.

The hope of gentrification springs eternal...

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

The last thing we need is out-of-state pro-developer pundit trolls fucking over our communities.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:34 am

Just so long as you don't move to my community, Marcos, s'il vous plaît.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:47 am

SE PDX it is, being subsidized by another tech geek to live a life of luxury in a place where they have a real summer and the population is as white as the Mission was in the 1950s.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 11:01 am

"and the population is as white as the Mission was in the 1950s."

Living in a place like that been your lifelong dream, hasn't it?

Marcos will fit right in - leftist Portlanders love to babble on about "diversity", while carefully choosing to live in the whitest big city in the United States.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 11:16 am

You've busted me, I'm a full blooded racist, and my hood and robe are safely ensconced in my closet.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 11:45 am

white power groups. I'm sure you're lilly white ass will do just fine there.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

I might add that it is because of carpetbaggers like you that it is impossible for normal Portlanders to afford houses in nice neighborhoods in Portland.

You should be ashamed of yourself.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:20 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

The RBA and TIC speculator flippers gentrified the Mission.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

older, poorer whites and deprived hispanic families of housing options.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

If that was a problem, I'm sure that the most progressive city in the US would take steps to stabilize your community, if that is where you live. My bet is that you lost out on SF real estate and are now belittling everyone else to make up for your humiliation.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

talking down to those he deems beneath him on the housing ladder.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

SE Portland's demographic is me.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

chip on their shoulder so, yeah, I'd agree.

Mills College is you.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:33 pm

"SE Portland's demographic is me."

So, so true.

After all, why not throw off all pretense of valuing diversity, when you can live in a 99.9% white yuppie area. Ooops... a Vietnamese family lives down the street from me, so make that 99.8%.

Although, Marcos is specifically referring to inner Southeast Portland - you go too far east in Southeast Portland, and you start running into methhead and Russian neighborhoods, even before you hit the demographic wall east of 82nd Avenue.

Can't be too careful where you live...

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:40 pm

I value diversity which is why I'm not too keen on seeing San Francisco turn from a rainbow city into an upscale white and yellow city.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

adding to diversity?

If you really valued diversity, you would want to live EAST of 82nd in PDX.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

...while you plan on moving to the whitest part of the whitest city in the United States.

That's Valuing Diversity, all right!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:14 pm

Isn't NW the whitest part of the whitest city?

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:24 pm

"Isn't NW the whitest part of the whitest city?"

Hard to distinguish between shades of whiteness at that rarified level - let's just say that it is unusual to see a black person walking down Hawthorne. (And even more unusual to see a black person walking down Division or Belmont in that area.)

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

Fortunately PDX is Latinoizing somewhat.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

Yeah, Marcos, I'm sure that it's a really critical issue for you that Portland is becoming more Latino. LOL.

Besides, Marcos - the Latinos are moving east of 82nd Avenue - you know, that area that you have already decided that you aren't going to live in.

Since the average resident of inner Southeast Portland visits the part of Portland east of 82nd Avenue about as often as they visit Pluto, you, like your neighbors, can safely put Latinos and other minority groups completely out of sight and out of mind, except for the restaurants they open in your neighborhoods.

Our former mayor referred to Portland as "America's most European city", and we are highly European, inasmuch as we have managed to boot almost all the poor and minority people in Portland out to the fringes of the city and to adjacent suburbs, thereby managing to clear out the desirable inner city Portland neighborhoods for people like Marcos. (Lots of redevelopment money was involved.)

And we've still managed to convince people that Portland is a "liberal" city!

We're PR geniuses!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 10:28 am

Did you know that much of Portland east of 82nd Avenue has neither sidewalks nor paved streets?

Bike lanes in yuppie neighborhoods in inner Southeast Portland are a key city priority, to be paid for by everyone in Portland!

If someone in a poor neighborhood in outer east Portland wants the street paved in front of their house, they can damn well pay for it themselves!

That's how we roll in Portland!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 10:41 am

Yeah, we did house hunting around that area several years ago, it was like falling off of the end of the earth in some senses. Plaid Pantry don't cut it for me.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 11:29 am
Posted by anon on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

Progressive avoids corporate death foods, stop the presses.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

Thanks for reminding me, Marcos - I'd gotten into the habit of stopping off at Plaid to buy something to eat and drink on the way to work, forgetting that given our mutual social class, it is really inappropriate to be slumming like that.

In the future, I'll limit myself to handcrafted artisanal locally-sourced food, priced at a level that no mere Portland peasant could afford.

Thanks for the reminder regarding appropriate class behavior, Marcos!

There are certain things that Simply Aren't Done at our rarefied social level!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

You really need to stay west of 50th, Marcos, but otherwise, Portland has been designed by people like Marcos to appeal to people like Marcos. Everyone else in Portland can go hang.

I can appreciate why your delicate sensibilities would be offended by Plaid Pantry - after all, Plaid is patronized by working-class people. Can't have that.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 11:48 am

If you eat shit, then you treat yourself like shit.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

a place full of effeminate white liberals like himself.

He wouldn't survive 5 minutes east of 82nd because he has nothing in common with the hispnaics, blacks and rednecks who live there.

Posted by anon on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 10:58 am

Ad hominem Troll.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 11:29 am
Posted by anon on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

Ad Hominem Troll.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

Where do you get that exploitative landlord thing from? Are you an exploitive worker at your McDonalds job? Some people just have a better way of making money, than you obviously do.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 7:38 pm

and totally predictable that there will be market cycles. Those swings notwithstanding, equity and property values have increased manyfold over the last few decades, creating millions of millionaires. I doubt that you will convince many here or elsewhere that that is not a desirable thing.

Posted by anon on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 8:32 pm

And it is well known that there is public policy to stabilize communities from market bubbles.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 8:39 pm

Market cycles create opportunity.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 9:00 pm

And the white male christian republicans from the 1940s gave us zoning to try to stabilize communities.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 05, 2013 @ 9:24 pm
Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 7:35 am

The Mission has always had white people living here since settlement. The warehouse we lived in hadn't been housing previously and our condo was owned by a white woman. Problem?

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:09 am

Now it's hispanic but moving back to white again.

Things change.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:21 am

Almost 100%, Really?

Posted by marcos on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 10:34 am