CW Nevius has an article online today about the eviction of elderly tenants from their North Beach flats. It’s pretty much the poster child example of why tenant advocates in San Francisco despise the creation of tenancy-in-common units, which some see as the only hope for affordable owner-occupied housing in San Francisco.
The building in question is in the 500 block of Greenwich, and in what can only be described as a big-middle-finger to tenants everywhere is listed in the public tax records as being owned by “SF Affordable Housing LLC” – a quick search at the secretary of state website reveals that the “Agent for Service of Process” is listed as most likely the same Peter Iskandar (although public records have his name spelled as Iskandar, and the Chronicle article has it spelled as Iskander) as mentioned in the Chronicle article, and shares a mailing address with another property that is listed as being owned by Mr. Iskandar.
Further digging shows that “SF Affordable Housing LLC” purchased the building by being the successful over-bidder in a probate sale, with the deal closing for $1,733,000 in March of 2010.
In the article, the attorney for Mr. Iskandar claims that they were offered generous buyout options, and countered with outrageous demands. And given the way SF tenant law is structured, all of this seems very believable. I have no idea what “SF Affordable Housing LLC” considers generous or outrageous, though, so I’ll let you come to conclusions on that yourself.
It’s a travesty that someone’s idea of a good business plan is to purchase a building with elderly and ill tenants, evict them, remodel the building, and sell the units off as tenancy in common shares.Â It’s also bloody crying shame that SF tenant law is so rigid that the only way an owner can remove tenants is through the brutal Ellis act. Let’s not hide behind some principled language about capitalism and private property rights. I believe in capitalism, I believe in private property rights, and I also believe that I live in a community that should hold its residents to a higher ethical and moral standard than profiting from the misery of the elderly or the infirm.
And for what it’s worth, the San Francisco real estate brokerage firm of which I am a member has a policy prohibiting the representation of sellers like “SF Affordable Housing LLC.” So we aren’t all evil. For what that’s worth.