Housing Rights Committee To Host Anti-Speculation Convention

Photo: Housing Rights Committee/Facebook
By Camden Avery - Published on May 17, 2017.

Tomorrow, tenant-rights group Housing Rights Committee is hosting a convention where westside residents can discuss the impact of real estate speculation on the Richmond and Sunset districts while brainstorming tenant-focused solutions.

In a press release, HRC community organizer Cynthia Fong said the meeting will focus on speculation's relationship to citywide housing shortages, with a view to local solutions.

"Examples of speculative behavior include the displacement of legacy small businesses, evictions of long-term tenants, and the spike in short-term rentals," Fong wrote. "We are experiencing a housing crisis at the hands of greed; houses should be treated as homes and not vehicles for profit."

Real estate speculation is a touchy subject for San Franciscans. Property owners have a legal right to cash in on an investment, but "flipping" houses in a hot market contributes to soaring prices and displacement.

In 2014, local ballot measure Prop G proposed a new 14-to-24 percent "transfer tax" on residential multi-unit properties sold within five years of purchase. (The city's transfer tax currently caps out at under three percent.) Voters rejected the proposition, which lost by eight points.

The proposed 2014 measure, Fong said, came out of the belief that "speculation, specifically the flipping of houses, was really threatening tenants—especially long-term tenants on the west side."

She said the Sunset and Richmond are disproportionally impacted by speculation because these areas have high concentrations of long-term tenants with rent control. As a result, landlords have a higher incentive to replace those tenants with ones paying market-rate rents.

"That's kind of what we're seeing out here," Fong said, eviction "by any means necessary. ... We see the most number of owner move-in [evictions] now, the most number of Ellis Act evictions now."

It's unclear whether momentum to restrict real estate speculation citywide has grown in the three years since Prop G failed. But one of the other most prominent proposals to support housing affordability—2015's Prop F, also known as the "Airbnb Initiative"—also failed a year and a half ago.

Thursday's meeting will focus on tactical and potential policy measures to protect the Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods from speculative real estate practices, said Fong.

About 17 hours ago
San Francisco Embarcadero Financial District

‘Nash Bridges’ reboot movie shoot electrifying the Financial District

The old combination of Don Johnson and Cheech Marin is bringing new life to downtown San Francisco, in the form of gunshots and exploding cars for the “Nash Bridges” made-for-TV movie. Read More

About 17 hours ago
San Francisco

Bay Area restaurants will hold 'Dining for India' fundraiser to raise funds for India COVID-19 relief efforts

In light of India’s catastrophic second Covid-19 wave, ten local Indian eateries have partnered together to donate 50% of their sales on May 25 toward COVID-19 response efforts in India. Read More

About 17 hours ago
San Francisco

California is set to rescind mask mandates next month, but Bay Area counties likely to sort out their own new rules

With California less than a month away from its "full-reopening" on June 15, and after the Centers for Disease Control rescinded its mask mandate last week, it's still not clear what a mostly vaccinated, maskless, post-pandemic Bay Area will look like. Read More

May 14, 2021
San Francisco Embarcadero Fisherman's Wharf

Watch: The F-Line ‘Boat Tram’ returns with ribbon-cutting celebration

The Blackpool Boat Tram popularly known as “Boat Boi” returned to the rails Friday, in advance of this weekend’s reopening of Muni Metro service and stations. Read More