As discussed back in February, Supervisors Mark Farrell and Scott Wiener have co-authored some legislation that will clear a 2,000-unit backlog of tenancies in common (TICs) and allow them to convert to condominiums en masse. The legislation made tenants-rights organizations upset with good reason, since evictions under the Ellis Act in order to create TICs from former rental properties have disproportionately affected under-privileged populations across the city. But now Supervisor David Chiu, with the support of Jane Kim and Norman Yee, has authored amendments that will put a stop to condo conversions for at least a decade, and will end them altogether for buildings with five or more units. The proposal is getting voted on today at the Land Use Committee, in preparation for a full board vote.
The way it would work is that existing TICs would get to bypass the city's lottery system for condo conversion, in which 200 units are allowed to convert each year, by paying $20,000. New TICs would then not be able to convert for at least ten years, at which point the lottery may resume. And also, buildings with five or more units would not be permitted to convert.
The Chiu amendments have been applauded by tenants rights advocates, who are rallying at City Hall today at noon to show their support. They note that these are the most significant reforms to the city's condo laws in decades.
TIC owners are jumping for joy at the possibility that this will pass as it will mean an immediate drop in interest rates for financing, and a spike in their properties' value, all without having to wait with the uncertainty of the lottery system.
But at least as of last week, Supervisor David Campos was not convinced that the legislation was good for Mission tenants. He told the Examiner, "We have a situation where every day people are being displaced. The challenge is not to the owners of these kinds of units. The challenge is for the renters who are finding it very hard to stay in San Francisco."