Supes scramble to find TIC deal

Sup. Norman Yee is in the middle of talks on the TIC bill

Some San Francisco supervisors are scrambling to find an acceptable compromise that would prevent condo-conversion legislation by Sups. Scott Wiener and Mark Farrell from becoming a bitter battle that could be a no-win situation for centrists.

Board President David Chiu is meeting with tenant groups and trying to craft an alternative to the proposal, which would allow some 2,000 tenancy in common units to convert to condominiums. Wiener says the legislation is needed to provide housing stability to people in the almost-but-not-quite-a-condo world of TICs. Tenant activists who have met with Chiu say he's discussing ways to limit speculation, which might include a five-year ban on the resale of converted condos. But that won't be anywhere near enough for the tenant groups.

In fact, tenant and landlord groups are both talking to Sup. Norman Yee, who will be one of the swing votes, and who could introduce a series of amendments to the Wiener/Farrell bill that would be more palatable to tenants.

"They've had a couple of meetings," Yee told me. "We're just examining the issues to see if there's a compromise. It would be great if we could work something out so the supervisors could feel better about voting on this."

But any deal, Ted Gullicksen of the San Francisco Tenants Union told me, would require "structural reform of the future condo-conversion process."

Yee could probably get away with that -- he's never relied on landlords or real-estate interests for his campaign money, and there aren't that many TIC owners in his district, which is largely single-family homes. This won't be a vote that will make or break his future in District 7.

On the other hand, it could be a huge issue for Sup. London Breed, who represents a district with a huge majority of tenants and the most progressive voting record in the city. Breed insists that she hasn't made up her mind on the issue, and she told me she agrees she's on the hot seat here: Much of her political and financial support came from Plan C and real-estate interests that want more condo conversions, but she would face furious policial fallout if she voted against tenants. "I am open to a compromise, but only if it's good policy for the city," she said.

Supervisors David Campos and John Avalos are strongly against the TIC bill, and it's likely that Sups. Eric Mar (who got immense support from tenants in his recent re-election) and Jane Kim (who didn't support the measure in committee) will oppose it unless it's altered in a way that tenants can accept.

Naturally, Farrell and Wiener are on the yes side, as is, almost certainly, Sup. Carmen Chu.

That leaves Breed, Chiu, Yee, and Sup. Malia Cohen -- and three of them have to vote Aye for the bill to pass. Chiu wants to run for state Assembly from the tenant-heavy side of the city, but, as always, he's looking for a way to avoid an ugly fight.

The problem is that the tenants aren't going to sign off on anything modest; if they're going to accept the conversion of 2,000 units that used to be rental housing, they're going to want to be absolutely certain it doesn't happen again -- and that there are new rules in place that halt the rampant assault on existing rent-controlled housing.

So either the folks in the center -- Yee, Breed, Chiu, and Cohen -- are going to have to force the landlords to accept some long-term reforms that they won't like, or politicans like Breed are going to be forced to take a yes or not vote that could come back to haunt them.






"Long term capital accumulation via owner, family occupied primary home is as American as apple pie and trails, does not lead, speculation in housing."

...because 7 year interest only balloon mortgages for overpriced, undivided ownerships in a unique TICs hardly any bank will touch, to unsophisticated first time home buyers based on a windfall conversion to condo that will require an extraordinary intervention by city legislature, and likely be overturned by an enraged renter majority through the ballot -- is not "speculation in housing."

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

They include refi's, and the city has no power to overturn a mortgage.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

"Buying a home and living in it for years, for decades and then cashing in as a retirement plan is not the same thing as buying homes and flipping then for quick bucks."

Hopefully, progressives will be able to get rid of the mortgage interest deduction in Obama's second term (and raise a lot of money for the government).

That will help reduce real estate prices to more reasonable levels, thus confiscating a portion of Marcos' ill-gotten gains to benefit society.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 10:21 am

That ain't gonna happen.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 10:31 am

"That ain't gonna happen."

LOL. You think? You have no idea how desperate the Federal Government is for additional revenues.

The mortgage tax deduction only benefits the affluent, and primarily benefits the richest areas of the country - the Bay Area, New York, Washington, etc.

Frankly, it's time those bloated homeowners in rich cities started paying their Fare Share.

Who knows, if we can get you tax bill high enough, maybe you'll actually rent out your unused condo to some deserving renters, instead of just squatting on it.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 10:45 am
Posted by Guest on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 10:48 am

Marcos supports everything that benefits Marcos.

He's very good at making up after-the-fact rationalizations to justify this.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 11:02 am

"Buying a home and living in it for years, for decades and then cashing in as a retirement plan is not the same thing as buying homes and flipping then for quick bucks."

Isn't that's precisely what SF's TIC residents are hoping for? Have you conveniently forgotten that the TICs that are the subject of this legislation are filled with SF residents that have lived here for decades (most were renters before they bought a TIC unit), that are hoping to have housing stability so that can continue to stay for decades more!

To be eligible for the legislation the TIC residents must have lived in their units for a minimum of 3 years, some have lived in them for more than a dozen. At what point will the ideologues allow those individuals to have housing stability in the TIC units that they have made their homes? Are you really concerned about the individual that might rent this TIC unit in the future at market rate? Or are you concerned about the people that already live here in this city with rent control. It can't be both, because the second group makes it more expensive for the first group. If it's the second group than this legislation, should focus on severing any link between evictions and conversion, not on whether one should be able to own a TIC or not. The city should not be promoting one form of housing over another.

The current situation makes no sense- Live in your unit as a renter and it's yours with protections for as long as you like. Decide you'd like to own that very same unit and you have no protections. Same housing for the same individual, yet the city, through it's existing policy, is showing a preference to force people to be renters. That's not right.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

I keep getting the messages mixed up. Either the SFBG commands a voting block as rock solid as any young communist league or the SFBG is a meaningless has-been in SF politics. Could the Guests please confer with Lucretia, anon, Demented, and Meatlock to get the message straight so we know what to think?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 15, 2013 @ 9:23 pm

Frankly, I only read the SFBG for the lulz.

The SFBG politically is trapped in amber, and is nostalgic for a political past that will never return again. Sort of like reading American Communist Party materials from the 1930's.

I must confess, I will shed a tear, when the day comes soon when the SFBG ceases print publication.

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 10:49 am

I don't read the SFBG anymore, really, I don't need to, already know what it is going to say.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

All we need is more ignorant commenters who can't even bother to read but are full of their own opinions. And spare us your lulz, DYTTP. From the urban dictionay:

"lulz" is derived from the commonly used slang "lol". It is often used by those who try to differentiate themselves from other individuals and often have low self esteem. The "z" is supplemented to demonstrate just how "lul" the situation is, but is seen by others as ludicrous and redundant.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

What else can you do with "progressives", other than laugh at them?

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 5:14 pm

it would seem to me that she was not, as she was not the SFBG's first or second choice, if memory serves me.

so, while her district may have "the most progressive voting record" in the City, it seems clear that they are not a knee-jerk vote for the most progressive** policy.

** = I don't see the SFBG's stance on this issue as being particulary progressive.

Posted by guestD on Feb. 15, 2013 @ 4:09 pm

had not tried to molest a woman or who had voted for a guy who had abused his wife.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

The progressives who post here remind me of places I've worked where the entire organization is imploding and everyone is pointing fingers at each other. We can tell the progressive movement is just about finished in San Francsico when their D5 candidates were so weak for such an important district, and when some of their most toxic members post here 24/7 to provide laughs for all those quite happy to watch the progressives burn out in flames.

I was hoping we'd get a rip-roaring public tribunal where the "bad" progressives could be tried and convicted for their many sins against the "good" progressives, but it appears there are so few "good" progessives left on their team they couldn't even field a quorum of certified judges/executioners.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 1:24 pm

One of the imposter, beginner trolls using the ubiquitous "Guest" handle feceded this up above:

"Or, we could all just get along, and we realize that we all have a common interest in a more vibrant and successful city."

What marketing website did you pull that slogan from, pleb?

Translation of that excrement: Pro TIC legislation. Let's all "come together and get along with our common interests" for the conservative-right wing agenda.

Here are the newspeak words in the above:

"common interest"
"more vibrant" (the word vibrant is one the most overused and misused word today and it's often used to describe a neighborhood in decline with more and more empty store fronts)
"successful city"

It's a shame that the beginning imposter trolls don't like hearing the truth but it's so typical of the insipids. They don't like for anyone to speak the reality of life in general and the reality of political life in San Francisco today. They like to ram through their conservative agenda while using pretty words and word manipulation such as, "just all get along," and "common interest in a more vibrant and successful city." What lovely syrupy words but having no basis in reality, plebs.

Yes, we've "all just gotten along" with our "common interests" .....oh yes of course, that's why we have THE DIVISIVE sit-lie and THE DIVISIVE nudity ban, idiots, as two examples, plebs. And now, this rabid DIVISIVE agenda against renters/tenants.

International Troll Society Member #12360969212

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 15, 2013 @ 6:05 pm

Everyone on your team realizes the economic and political systems are heavily tilted against lower and middle income people, especially tenants. I even prefer to suggest that politicians and landlords commit economic rape against tenants and working people with their actions and laws that deeply harm the livlihoods, stability, and economic security of lower and middle-income tenant households.

But so what? Very few people agree on the next best course of action. And the left has a disproportionate number of angry and bossy people on its side who interject themselves in every important issue, which doesn't help with either organizing or influencing the political process.

When the star progressives on the board don't even hold hearings to ask the IRS and state tax board how many billions in tax write-offs they give to millionaire SF residential and commercial landlords each year - money that could instead be spent by the city on building appropriate housing wherever possible - it seems doubtful more progressive housing policies are going to happen anytime soon in the city. There is one bright spot: a healthy annual pool of city money for restricted affordable housing programs that the voters should be proud to have supported last November. The regulations are being written, led by Mayor Lee, which is probably the most important SF housing development to follow closely since regulations are often much more important than the law itself.

Even the proposed Wiener legislation has its advantages since every SF tenant can be notified over and over again that Supervisor Wiener is proposing an open war on rent controlled units since Wiener, Farrel, Chu, and perhaps other supervisors want to start converting thousands of condos at a time, with more expected to follow shortly after thousands more tenants are evicted and new TIC units are formed.

Posted by Ex-Int'l Troll Society Member on Feb. 15, 2013 @ 8:56 pm

"Everyone on your team..."---pleb

Pleb, I don't have a team. I'm not into teams or a team mentality in anything. I think independently. I take it you are into teams and you're into that sort of crutch since you used the term. Tough luck, pleb.

And also, the International Troll Society strongly opposes anyone attempting to impersonate an ITS member. And there are no former members. One is a member for life, so you've given away yourself as an imposter/fraud. Not good, pleb.

International Troll Society Member #12360969212

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 15, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

What has made this city so successful and vibrant is its diversity, character, and sense of community where everyone is welcome and the community comes together to take care of each other. It is in our common interests to preserve those things.

And there's really only one way to preserve that. You can't keep building till there's no tomorrow, because you destroy the character of the city that way. And you can't let prices rise to whatever certain people want to charge (people who want to divide the city and pit people against each other in bidding wars and eviction battles). The right wing needs to understand that charging $4500 a month just because you possess a scarce resource is not an example of working in the common interests of the city, most of whom are tenants. That's an example of class warfare waged by those who possess something against those who do not. We can't allow that. We need to stop this divisive class warfare and protect San Francisco as a city for everyone.

Unfortunately some people want to put people in boxes, saying that they shouldn't live here if they don't make a certain amount of money. We need to stop doing that. So let's come together in our common interests, and enact stronger rent control, vacancy control, price controls on real estate, eliminate the Ellis Act, eliminate condo conversions entirely, eliminate pass throughs for anything that benefits landlords, and we'll once again show that we're the city that can! Folks, these things are in our common interest, so we should stop being so divisive and get behind that agenda. At the very least, we can begin by having Weiner withdraw his divisive condo conversion legislation. All it's done is created a lot of acrimony and class warfare, so let's come together and scrap it.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 15, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

that SF rental yields are maybe around 5% pa or so, then you are living in a home that is valued at over a million dollars. That's very nice for you, but who should we give breaks to people who enjoy living in million dollar homes?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 9:31 am

In the more desireable parts of the city, you can barely get a 2 bedroom 1000 square foot condo for 4500 a month -hardly luxury living. But the kicker is that those places were going for 3500 last year, and 2500 a couple years before that. There's no *need* for this kind of skyrocketing rent. Certainly landlords were doing just fine even before the boom. It's pure greed -no, scratch that -let's call it "class warfare."

And sure, I'm parrotting the stupid rhetoric of the right -you know, the right that claims to be apolitical centrists but are in fact on the right. Yeah, that right. But I'm only half joking, because it is class warfare.

But I want to make a fine distinction here -it's not class warfare by TIC owners against renters. It's class warfare by those bringing this legislation forward on their behalf.

I understand the position of TIC owners. TIC owners are only moderately more wealthy than some of the renters they're displacing, and they're just trying to change the rules for themselves so they can get a little bit of coin -maybe a modest increase in their property values in the neighborhood of $200,000 -$300,000. I understand the attraction. I disagree -you shouldn't have bought the TIC if you didn't like the rules in the first place. And most TIC owners accepted these rules. Anytime in the past dozen years, this legislation would've been DOA. But now, with more conservatives like Weiner and Farrell, they're hoping to take the advantage of an opportunity.

Thing is... there aren't that many of them. They're not big donors like Conway and PG&E. A group comprising less than 1% of the city population trying to change the rules to benefit them at the expense of another group comprising 65% of the population (that is, renters), really shouldn't be a poltical force. So why are Weiner and Farrell doing this? Ah, *this* is where the class warfare comes into play. As several conservative trolls touched upon, Weiner and Farrell need to displace renters and create more condos for the rich in order to change the city's demographics in their favor.

The primary purpose of this isn't to help TIC owners. It's to hurt tenants.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 9:55 am

With progressives having been coopted and having failed to make ourselves relevant, you mean instead of with Wiener and Farrell on the Board.

This is not Wiener's or Farrell's fault--it is never your opponent's fault when you lose--this is our fault for not using political power entrusted to us by the voters in their interests.

The official organized progressive designated stakeholders got their needs met, and that was all that counted.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 10:20 am

dollar home. Nobody is forced to do that and most reasonable people would consider that to be luxury living.

No tenants are hurt by this - it only affects those who own their own homes.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 10:30 am

No, most people would not consider it luxury living. And tenants will be hurt by the permanent loss of rent control units.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 9:05 pm

Why does someone like you feel entitled to that, and entiled to someone else paying for it?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 7:18 am

I could care less how much the flat sells for. I think there should be price controls, because it's not worth a million dollars in any sane sense of the word. I do think people are entitled to homes fit for human habitation, and they should pay a fair price for it. Rent control helps regulate that.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 8:48 am

right, and that everyone should have some form of shelter.

It's a long way from that statement to suggest that everyone has the right to live in an expensive place like San Francisco, nor that you have a 2right" to live in a million dollar home.

You can argue that you do not think your rental is worth a million but that is futile for as long as there exists at least one buyer who is willing to pay that much for it.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 9:33 am

The natural state of humanity dating back to hunter-gatherer times, is for groups to band together for a common defense.

What we currently have is an economy -- a creation of our own devising -- which represents a systemic disability to defend our own homes.

This speculation-based economy -- and artifact decendant from the one which first brought "tulip mania" to the world -- is bent to cause misery by capriciously vandalizing our human legacy.

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 9:55 am

You're going off the deep end here, Lilli

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 11:30 am

This doesn't hurt tenants. And the "coin" you refer to is nonsense. The city study on issue suggests that the value increases 10-20% and that does not account for the cost of conversion. Also, a TIC owner would have to sell their unit in order to see any "coin" if there is any, which if you listened to any of the TIC folks that testified is not their intent. These folks want to stay in SF and need to convert so that can have housing stability. They'd like to refinance their units at these historically low rates yet they can't. They face skyrocketing costs when their 3 or 5 year fixed terms on their mortgages go variable. Some are underwater and can't refinance. This is about housing stability for SF residents that happen to be TIC owners. TIC owners are not the "speculators" you disdain, they are folks just like you. Why should they not have a place in this city?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 12:44 pm

I am a renter and a 20 year SF resident and what is in my interest is more housing being built.

Posted by mike on Feb. 18, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

moderation of housing costs. Social engineering policies do not work, as we can see every day now.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2013 @ 2:55 pm

Everything you're proposing will cause class warfare going the other direction. You're saying "let's do away with more of the rights of property owners to benefit the renter class." Do your blinders prevent you from seeing that?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 7:50 am

That's not what we have voted for.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 8:01 am

I don't remember it being on the ballot.

That's the problem with our "democracy." The essence of our economic system is never up for a vote.

Posted by Greg on Feb. 16, 2013 @ 9:06 pm

would lose by a massive majority.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 7:17 am

But with all due respect, I'd like to see that for myself -have candidates and intitiatives that discuss these things in an open system, have open an honest debate, equalize the financial and institutional advantages, and then let folks decide. You know... an open system... some places call that "democracy."

Posted by Greg on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 8:52 am

then why would you have any reason to believe such policies as his would garner any critical mass elsewhere in the US?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 9:31 am

Progressive leaders are crazy
Progressive ideas are not popular

By the way, Avalos was elected supervisor in November 2008, and that's what really puts the "bold" to your lie.

Posted by lillipublicans on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 10:11 am

crazy to think he could win the mayoral race with left-wing policies like that.

Winning a district isn't the same as winning a city-wide election, and in fact progressives have been losing district races recently (D6, D5 etc.)

But hey, if you think this idea will fly, what is stopping you putting it on the ballot?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 11:32 am

One solution could be a covenant or deed restriction established on the condo unit, with the city as the named benefitted party. Because condos are deeded separately (as opposed to TICs, which are arranged by contract), you can attach all kinds of restrictions to the use of property, the same way suburban HOAs can prohibit solar panels or certain breeds of dogs.

The restriction could say that if the unit is ever rented in the future, it must be rented on the same terms as the rent ordinance, explicitly naming the city as benefitted party to the restriction. Since the city is the benefitted party, future buyers and sellers can't agree to waive the term. The only problem is that a deed restriction probably can't direct renters with a dispute to the rent board -- they would have to go to court -- but the substantive protections of rent control could be maintained.

This would protect all existing tenants and any future tenant who a landlord rents to in a converted building. The only net loss of rental housing would be that more units may go from the rental market to the purchase market, but let's be honest, the rent for new on the market rentals is roughly equivalent to effective monthly cost of buying (considering HOA dues, home mortgage tax deduction, etc.) in most neighborhoods.

Of course, neither side would actually want this. Supporters of the measure want to remove units from rent control. Current TIC owners who reside in the house may well move to the suburbs to avoid the schools lottery anyway, and when they do that, they would rather that their vacated former home not be subject to rent control. Progressives probably wouldn't like this either, because it would make it easier to move housing from rental to owned, and they seem to still believe that renting is cheaper. It also would be a complex nuance that wouldn't play well in London Breed's re-election campaign, especially if voters have three years to forget the details. The only person who might actually go for this is Weiner since he seems like a law and policy wonk, but he wouldn't be able to gather enough votes.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 17, 2013 @ 8:02 pm

Costa-Hawkins Act which specifically bars municipalities in CA from imposing rent control on condo's.

supporters of this measure do not want to get rid of rent controlled hosuing. That is a ridiculous statement - the primary motive here clearly is to help existing homeowners in units will be never be rented out anyway, under the current situation.

In fact, these units are MORE likely to be rented out if they are converted to condo's. So if you really care about seeing more rentals, you should support this.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2013 @ 5:56 am

It's an amazing gift that just keeps on giving.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 18, 2013 @ 4:11 pm

Costa-Hawkins, which exempts so many SF homes from rent control, or the Ellis Act, which can remove all the other SF homes from rent control.

I just feel giddy with that dynamic duo of forces for justice and progressive.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2013 @ 5:53 pm

than does Ellis. Costa-Hawkins is Ted Gullickson's most hated piece of legislation, which makes it in my book the best thing since sliced bread.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Feb. 18, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

The more extreme measures pass to strnethen rent control, the more probable it is that Sacramento will pass a law that will strike RC down. Or the courts will, of course, as has frequently happened.

The current situation is a reasonable one. Some rents are controlled, but there are exit strategies for LL's who get the worst deal out of that.

So we have balance, but then the left never want balance - they want everything. Reality and reasonableness says otherwise. Most voters are moderates, not extremists.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 19, 2013 @ 8:02 am

One possibility: allow conversion of the subset of these TICs that will be owner-occupied by the current owner(s) for the next 5 (or 10?) years.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 18, 2013 @ 9:57 pm

A basic and constitutional property right.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 19, 2013 @ 7:59 am

The best way is to terminate with rent control. With popular vote. Like the city of Boston did 2years ago and rents came down and landlords had to remodel to the best to attrac demanding tenants. When you have rent control the city need to keep hiring more and more people that in turn create more burocracy.

Posted by free world on Feb. 19, 2013 @ 6:11 am