A San Francisco couple in their 60s just got the largest ever tenant buyout from an SF landlord for the seven-bedroom apartment they've rented since the early 1990s.
Ever since 2015 in SF, the previously hush-hush world of tenant buyouts for quietly giving up rent-controlled units became a thing of public record, by law. And since then, the SF Rent Board has collected data on these buyouts, which have grown in size as the local real estate market has continued its nearly uninterrupted rise.
And so, in yet another piece of evidence that the SF market is rebounding fast, the Chronicle reports on a $475,000 buyout settlement reached by the attorney representing one SF couple who have stayed put in their seven-bedroom, top-floor unit with views of the Bay for the last 30 years.
The apartment sounds pretty dreamy, basically the penthouse in the building at Laurel and Washington streets pictured above, and lawyers who have worked on settlements like these say that it's those kinds of unique, large, luxury units that have been occupied by the same tenants for decades that command the highest numbers.
When SFist reported on the buyout-disclosure law back in 2015, the general range for buyouts was between $6,000 and $80,000, according to the Rent Board. Last year, the Rent Board recorded 330 buyouts, which averaged $50,000. So this anonymous couple's near-half-million-dollar windfall marks a new high-water mark for these things.
But Steven MacDonald, the real estate lawyer who represented couple, called the sum "chump change," especially when a developer of a potentially very high-end property like this can recoup that sum in just a couple of years.
"Some people’s reaction is that this is crazy," McDonald tells the Chronicle. "It's not."
It's not clear what's happening with the building, or if it's being converted to higher-end rentals or, perhaps, a large TIC in the hopes of becoming a condo someday. The Chronicle notes that tenants there, including the couple in question, have "complained for months about the landlord’s noisy renovations."
But stories like this give SF's rent-control renters hope! If you just hunker down for another couple decades, maybe you, too, will be bought off to leave.
Photo via Google Streetview