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Tenant buyouts increase in San Francisco

The median buyout offer reported to the Tenants Union averaged around $20,000.
The median buyout offer reported to the Tenants Union averaged around $20,000.
Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user Alex Barth

SocketSite is reporting that San Francisco tenant buyouts are increasing – as are the cash amounts involved with these buyouts. In 2007, there were 90 tenants in rent-controlled apartments who received a buyout offer to vacate their homes and went to the San Francisco Tenants Union for counseling. In 2013, that number jumped to 175.

In terms of buyout price, the maximum amount of an offer reported to the Tenants Union was $80,000. That said, the average offer ran closer to $21,000 with a median of $16,000. According to SocketSite, that median has increased to $20,000 over the past year.

So where are most buyout offers taking place? The Tenants Union has found that the highest concentration of such offers not only over the last year, but since 2008, are in the Castro, Haight-Ashbury, Mission, Noe Valley, NoPa and the Western Addition. In terms of monthly rent, tenants living in two-bedroom apartments who received buyout offers were paying a median of $1,700 over the last year.

SocketSite warns that the data is based on intake forms prepared by counseling-seeking tenants and is not necessarily a comprehensive picture of all San Francisco buyout activity. Actual averages may also be understated as tenants who sought counseling may have received less than optimal offers, which were often countered and increased.

San Francisco’s Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office, which compiled the data for San Francisco Supervisor David Campos, noted: “Compared to current City requirements pertaining to No-Fault evictions, tenant buyouts: 1) allow landlords to re-rent their apartments at market rate to new tenants, with no obligations to re-rent to existing tenants at rent-controlled rates, 2) release landlords from tenant notification time requirements of the Rent Ordinance; and, 3) keep open the possibility of converting the rental units to condominiums for sale which could be prohibited as current City law does not allow condominium conversions at buildings where No-Fault evictions of tenants have occurred after March 31, 2013, or where multiple No-Fault evictions occurred prior to March 2013.”

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com