Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:


From the office of Plan C San Francisco

December 6, 2005

San Francisco – Plan C San Francisco recently participated in a housing "working group" organized jointly by Supervisor Aaron Peskin and the Mayor's Office of Housing. The ostensible purpose of the Working Group was to see if tenants' rights groups and pro-homeownership groups (like Plan C) could find common ground on housing issues.

Five pro-homeownership groups, including Plan C, participated in the working group, as well as an equal number of representatives from tenants' rights groups. The latter groups said that their primary goal was to reduce evictions; pro-homeownership groups stated their belief that there should be ways to reduce evictions while simultaneously providing more opportunities for first- time homeowners. The working group met on five different occasions over the months of September, October and November. If there was any good news from these meetings, it was that everyone concerned was able to be civil in the discussions, with good leadership from Matt Franklin of the Mayor's Office of Housing, and Supervisor Peskin.

Early on in the discussions, it became clear that the "deal" sought by the tenants' side was a change in state law to allow tenancies in common (TICs) to be regulated like condos, in exchange for an increase in the number of annual condo conversions allowed in San Francisco. This proposal was rejected by the homeownership groups, for at least a couple of reasons. First, under recent court decisions that have been appealed all the way to the California Supreme Court, regulating TICs has been held unconstitutional - something that even the state legislature can't change. But more fundamentally, the pro-homeownership groups weren't willing to trade away the rights of San Franciscans to be able to join together with friends and family members and achieve first-time homeownership.

Plan C and other pro-homeownership groups then made their own proposal: that apartment owners be given the right to sell units to the tenants who live in the units, with guaranteed price discounts to tenants who buy, and rent control protections for tenants who wanted to continue to rent. This would provide a very attractive alternative to TICs and Ellis Act evictions. A win-win solution: evictions are reduced, because owners now have an attractive alternative to Ellising buildings, and ownership units are created for renters who want to own their units. Unfortunately, this idea was rejected out of hand by the tenants' groups.

With these ideas off the table, the working group began discussing potential changes to the condo lottery itself. Tenants' groups wanted a restructuring of the lottery, to ban conversions for buildings with Ellis evictions, and to prioritize conversions for buildings where tenants were purchasing units, among other things. Plan C and like-minded groups wanted an increase in the number of units allowed to convert each year, to deal with the incredible backlog of units developing in the lottery (over 1500 units competed for 200 slots in 2005). Again, despite lengthy discussions, no consensus could be reached. Having reached an impasse, the working group disbanded.

It now appears that the Tenants' Union and other groups are going to the Board of Supervisors to try to achieve their goal of a complete overhaul of the lottery. Supervisor McGoldrick, apparently at the instigation of the same tenants' groups who participated in the working group, submitted legislation in late November to the City Attorney's Office to do just that. Pro-homeownership groups are expected to fight this proposal strongly – unless legislative attention is also given to the needs of renters who want to become homeowners.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa