The Rent Is Too Damn High

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Addie
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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#26

Post by Addie »

Curbed













Longtime Rent-Control Tenant Shocked to Discover $6,700 Rent Hike Is Totally Legal





On March 1, Deb Follingstad and her boyfriend were living in a rent-controlled apartment in Bernal Heights, paying $2,145 for a two-bedroom above what had once been a gas station and garage. On March 2, that all changed. Follingstad found herself holding a legal notice informing her that her rent would soon jump to $8,900—a fourfold increase—with a security deposit set at an astounding $12,500 per month. Follingstad, a Chinese medicine practitioner who treats cancer patients at Smith Integrative Oncology on the Embarcadero, had always believed that she enjoyed the protections of rent control. "I understand that a rent-controlled apartment is a ticking time bomb," explains Follingstand, who has lived in the unit, at 355 Bocana Street, since 2004. "But I never expected what I was served, nor did I think that what they gave me could be legal." Over the weekend, she posted a scan from the legal notice to Facebook with an appeal to friends for any leads on open apartments. The post quickly went viral. As of this writing, it's been shared more than 2,600 times.

But the action taken by Follingstad's landlord, Nadia Lama, appears to be legally sound, thanks to a workaround that gives landlords a way to free themselves of tenants without making the relocation payments required under the Ellis Act. According to tenant rights attorney Joseph Tobener, managing partner at Tobener Law Center, the move is known as a constructive eviction by rent increase, and it's just what it sounds like. A landlord raises the rent to an exorbitant amount, far above market rate, so that the tenant is all but forced to leave—but without being formally evicted or collecting a relocation payment. (Current Ellis Act relocation payments stand at $5,555.21 per tenant.) "When there's this moving allowance at stake, that's what incentivizes the landlord to try and get around the eviction protection," says Tobener....

For most of her 11-year tenancy, Follingstad, 46, was protected from large rent hikes under the Rent Ordinance of 1979, because she was living in a multi-unit building (single-family homes and condos are treated differently under the Rent Ordinance). But by 2014, a tenant who had been living in the downstairs apartment moved out, after which, recalls Follingstad, the Lama family ultimately removed the stove, sink, and toilet from the vacant ground-floor unit. "They put down some crappy carpet and now call it a 'storage' space," she wrote in her Facebook post. That change turned her building into a single-family dwelling and effectively dissolved the protection against large rent hikes, or what is known as rent-ceiling-limitation protection.

Normally when landlords want to take a unit out of service, they need to go through discretionary review with the Planning Department, Tobener explains. But because the downstairs unit was not on the books—city documents reflect just one dwelling unit at the address—the landlord needed only building permits to do the work, no blessing from Planning required.






"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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esseff44
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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#27

Post by esseff44 »

The housing situation in San Francisco is totally crazy. The rent control laws keep a lot of people from taking the great risk of renting out units or in-laws. More and more of this housing is taken off the rental market which in turn drives up what's left.



Of couse, the owner of the above property is not expecting to get that quadruple rent increase. She will rent it at twice what she was getting or sell it to a developer. The selling price would be about $100,000 less with a sitting tenant because it costs so much to get them out with either eviction or paying a tenant to leave voluntarily.

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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#28

Post by RTH10260 »

Question from an outsider: in the case mentioned, how was it able under the zoning laws to create an apartment that was not registered, but still have the rent protection take effect?

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#29

Post by esseff44 »





Question from an outsider: in the case mentioned, how was it able under the zoning laws to create an apartment that was not registered, but still have the rent protection take effect?







It was a multi-unit rental even though one unit was an illegal in-law. It's part of the insanity of the local laws passed by tenant voters who are a large but shrinking majority. The illegal units have been tolerated because of the scarcity of housing especially for low and middle-income people. I heard a report today that said the average worker in SF is paying two-thirds of his/her income just for housing.



Today, there was another twist to the story above. The tenant was renting out part of her unit on AirBnB, the on-line vacation rental business that caused a lot of heartburn to lanlords under rent control. Some tenants have been renting out their rent controlled units for a hefty amount more than the rent they were paying.



https://www.airbnb.com/s/San-Francisco--CA



http://blog.sfgate.com/ontheblock/2015/ ... situation/



For at least 4 decades, the city officials have been talking about passing legislation so that the in-laws can be made legal and brought up to code and the zoning ordinances adjusted. Now they are talking about allowing the units to be registered so the city can get a cut in fees and taxes. AirBnB just had to pay the city millions in taxes on past rentals.



You have people desperate for a place to live and you have lots of empty units and small owners needing the income but the laws make it very hard for the needs to be matched up. So, the market is taking over in different ways. The rental properties are being sold to developers who turn them into condos or TIC's for people with high incomes. The city gets a huge jump in property taxes.

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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#30

Post by RTH10260 »

Thanks!

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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#31

Post by Addie »

Associated Press













Little Italy museum seeks to evict Italian-American grandma



NEW YORK — A fight in Manhattan's Little Italy neighborhood between a landlord who wants a tenant out and a tenant who doesn't want to leave isn't your run-of-the-mill New York City real estate struggle.



That's because the landlord is a museum dedicated to the legacy of Italian-Americans, and the tenant is an 85-year-old Italian-American grandmother who has lived there for more than 50 years.



"Why would you want to throw me out when I lived here all my life?" asked Adele Sarno, a feisty, raspy-voiced woman who proudly tells how she once even served as queen of the annual Feast of San Gennaro, Little Italy's most well-known event. "This is my neighborhood."



Sarno said the fight over her $820-a-month, two-bedroom apartment above the Italian American Museum began about five years ago. That's when she received a letter seeking to increase that rent to $3,500 a month, far more than the retired shopkeeper says she can afford.



The spat is the latest involving the museum to cause a commotion in Little Italy, a neighborhood of former tenement buildings and narrow streets in Lower Manhattan that was once a bustling center of Italian immigrant life. An Italian restaurant that had been open for decades closed its doors last week in a separate rent-related dispute.






"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#32

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Associated Press













More Americans spending at least half their pay on housing





WASHINGTON (AP) — The surging cost of rental housing has squeezed a rising proportion of U.S. families since the Great Recession struck in 2007.

For more than one in four renters, housing and utilities consume at least half their family income, according to an analysis of Census data by Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that helps finance affordable housing. The number of such households has jumped 26 percent to 11.25 million since 2007, a sign that the 6½bd}-year-old recovery from the recession has given scant relief to much of the country.

The government defines housing costs in excess of 30 percent of income as burdensome.

"It means making really difficult trade-offs," said Angela Boyd, a vice president at Enterprise Community Partners. "There are daily financial dilemmas about making their rent or buying groceries."








"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#33

Post by RTH10260 »

In my country the suggested ratio for rent is 30% of income. If you pay more and see no prospective raise, urgently move to a more affordable housing.

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#34

Post by esseff44 »

That is the same as the recommended ratio here, If someone moves to a place with lower rents, then they have commuting costs that eat up the difference, It's a matter of demand for housing where there are jobs available. That's what is driving up the housing costs.

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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#35

Post by SueDB »

You pay through your ass one way or another. Either transportation or price of housing.
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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#36

Post by magdalen77 »

Or like me live in an area that white folks consider "scary". My rent is quite reasonable. Though this new apartment costs 25% more than the old place. It's larger and has its own washer and dryer.

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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#37

Post by RTH10260 »





You pay through your ass one way or another. Either transportation or price of housing.





There is the same tradeoff here too, also,, and taking into consideration the time to commute. From what I read, this will make Americans laugh: recommendation here is that when your commute time gets over one hour (!) per way, consider moving nearer to work if your current social network does not hold you back.

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#38

Post by magdalen77 »

I think in most big cities a hourlong commute isn't out of the ordinary and places like NYC and LA it's common. The average commute for one of co-workers is 45 minutes to a hour. Since I've accepted living in a more "dangerous" area my commute is 15 minutes or less.

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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#39

Post by esseff44 »

http://blog.sfgate.com/gettowork/2015/0 ... e-on-rent/



That's what happens when the rent is really just too damn high. People are sleeping in their offices and vehicles. It's just the practical thing to do.

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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#40

Post by RTH10260 »





http://blog.sfgate.com/gettowork/2015/0 ... e-on-rent/



That's what happens when the rent is really just too damn high. [hlyellow]People are sleeping in their offices[/hlyellow] and vehicles. It's just the practical thing to do.





Didn't I read that even members of the US Congress do so?

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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#41

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Didn't I read that even members of the US Congress do so?Yes. (maybe not the "best" link.)Thrifty Congressmen Sleeping in Capitol Hill Offices is Not a Scandalhttp://www.cc.org/blog/thrifty_congressmen_sle ... scandalRep. Duncan Hunter bunks at his office in DChttp://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jun/26/hun ... ashington/
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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#42

Post by Addie »

The New Yorker











Why Are There So Many Shuttered Storefronts in the West Village?





At the end of this month, the House of Cards & Curiosities, on Eighth Avenue, just south of Jane Street, in the West Village, will close its doors after more than twenty years in business. It was, admittedly, not a store whose economic logic was readily apparent. Along with artistic greeting cards, it sold things like small animal skeletons, stuffed piranhas (which were hanging from the ceiling), and tiny ceramic skulls. Nonetheless, it did good business for many years, or so its owner, James Waits, told me. Its closing leaves four shuttered storefronts on just one block. With their papered-up windows and fading paint, the failed businesses are a depressing sight in an otherwise vibrant neighborhood. Each represents a broken dream of one kind or another.



The fate of the House of Cards & Curiosities is just one example of something odd that’s happening in some of New York’s richest and best-known neighborhoods—a surge in closings and shuttered shops. Consider, in particular, the West Village, the place that Jane Jacobs once described as a model for a healthy neighborhood, in her classic book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” The average per-capita income there is now more than a hundred and ten thousand dollars per year, and it retains its jazz clubs and fancy restaurants. It is both rich and vibrant, yet also now blighted with shuttered stores in various states of decay.



Abandoned storefronts have long been a hallmark of economic depression and high crime rates, but the West Village doesn’t have either of those. Instead, what it has are extremely high commercial rents, which cause an effect that is not dissimilar. “High-rent blight” happens when rising property values, usually understood as a sign of prosperity, start to inflict damage on the city economics that Jane Jacobs wrote about.



In the West Village, rent spikes are nearly universally reported as the reason so many storefronts have closed over the past few years. Cafe Angelique reportedly closed when its sixteen-thousand-dollar rent increased to forty-two thousand dollars. A Gray’s Papaya on Eighth Street closed after its owner reported a rent increase of twenty thousand dollars per month. “We are witnessing our destruction,” Nicky Perry, the outspoken owner of the neighborhood restaurant Tea & Sympathy, said. She called the situation “insane.”



Compounding the problem is the fact that the closed storefronts often stay that way, sometimes for years, in an apparent contradiction of the law of supply and demand. If a storefront remains empty for a long time (like this restaurant, which has been shuttered for more than six years), basic economics suggest that the price being charged is too high. So why doesn’t the owner lower the rents?










"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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#43

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The studio building we bought was incredibly over-priced for the 5 or 6 years it sat vacant until the guy practically went bankrupt. He lowered his original, non-negotiable price by about 40% and we got it for just above 1/2 of that. He was SO convinced that since it is in an improving area of relatively high rents, that he could do the same with his building and he had priced it right out of the market. I don't believe he would have ever lowered the asking price if he hadn't hit financial troubles.

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#44

Post by ZekeB »

Some people are that way, Sugar Magnolia. My next door neighbor has had her house for sale on and off for the past 15 years. She shops for the realtor who will list it for the most and she will not back down from that price. You'd think the realtors would know by now. Nope, they just keep overpricing her house and put themselves through another six months of useless effort.
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The Rent Is Too Damn High

#45

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VOX A full-time minimum-wage job won't get you a 1-bedroom apartment anywhere in America There is no state in the union where a full-time, minimum-wage worker can afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment for less than 30 percent of his paycheck (which is a standard measure of housing affordability).That's the depressing takeaway from a new report by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition. The paper includes this map tallying the hours a worker would have to put in at her job each week to rent a one-bedroom apartment without it eating more than 30 percent of her wages:
"The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for." - Barbara Kingsolver

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#46

Post by Patagoniagirl »



In this area of Florida the standard requirement to even be approved as a renter is to show verification that you make THREE times the rent as your monthly income.  You cannot have bad credit or any criminal convictions.  Through a friend we found a two bedroom duplex which costs us 50% of Mista's income.  I, of course, cannot work because I care for my son who has not yet been approved for disability OR Medicaid.  My application for food stamps has not yet been approved.  Lots of folks in similar situations all over the country.   By by the by...had someone tell me hat I really need to just get a caregiver and go out myself and get a job to help out.  Now, why would I hire a stranger to come into our humble home for $15 an hour so I can go out, spend money on gas, so I can make $10-15 an hour...if I am lucky.  Sucks.

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#47

Post by magdalen77 »



People who say things like that have no idea what things cost.  She or he probably thinks you can pay a caregiver $4/hour like you would a teenaged babysitter.I'm lucky since I live in a place that's considered "the Hood" my rent is less than 1/8th of what we make monthly.  Of course, our old place was even cheaper which came in handy when the man was out of work for four months due to his stroke.

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#48

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The business about rent will affect future generations.  Living in cramped quarters seems to cultivate more domestic friction than somewhat roomier accommodations where the family members can get some peace and quiet.  Perhaps more important, rent ultimately means lack of ownership, and even perhaps lack of a sense of security.  As Mark Twain said (more or less) "Men will fight for their homes, but not for their boarding houses."

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#49

Post by esseff44 »



The business about rent will affect future generations.  Living in cramped quarters seems to cultivate more domestic friction than somewhat roomier accommodations where the family members can get some peace and quiet.  Perhaps more important, rent ultimately means lack of ownership, and even perhaps lack of a sense of security.  As Mark Twain said (more or less) "Men will fight for their homes, but not for their boarding houses."​There have been many sayings attributed to Mark Twain for which there is no record of his having said or written them.  If it would not be too much of a bother, would you please post a source for the quotation you attributed to Mark Twain.  I somehow doubt he said it because he liked boarding houses and often complained about the responsibilities of home ownership and miseries of keeping house.I kind of envy you people who are permitted for your righteousness' sake, to dwell in a boarding house; not that I should want to always live in one, but I should like the change occasionally from this housekeeping slavery to that wild independence. A life of don't-care-a-damn in a boarding house is what I have asked for in many a secret prayer.- Letter to W. D. Howells, 1/28/1882http://www.twainquotes.com/Boarding_houses.htmlOne of the many wise sayings of Mark Twain:"I learned long ago never to say the obvious thing, but leave the obvious thing to commonplace and inexperienced people to say."http://cmgww.com/historic/twain/about/quotes3.htm He had some other good advice with these words:It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.and  among the best:Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please. Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/autho ... CUAfv4L.99

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#50

Post by Fortinbras »



I have not found this witticism in a book by Twain, but I found several mentions of this or a very similar sentence attributed to Twain (a blog called whitedsepulchre repeats it fairly often), and the same at least once attributed to Edward Everett Hale. http://www.bedwardfamily.com/Commentary ... wain-home/     ... and so forth.

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