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San Francisco pair to pay $276,000 after evicting tenants to cater to tourists

August 3, 2015

By : bizjournals – excerpt

A San Francisco couple has agreed to pay $276,000 in penalties and fees for evicting long-term tenants — including a disabled person — and then illegally turning their homes into vacation rentals on such platforms as as Homeaway.com and VRBO.com, according to City Attorney Dennis Herrera‘s office…

“Illegal conversions that push long-term tenants out of their homes diminish the availability of residential rental units for San Franciscans, and they’re a significant contributor to our housing affordability crisis,” Herrera said. “The penalties and tough injunction in this particular case reflect just how egregious the Lees’ conduct was. They repeatedly defied state and local laws to conduct their illegal business, and they also evicted San Franciscans — including a disabled tenant.”

The Ellis Act is a state law that allows landlords to evict tenants if they are withdrawing properties from the residential rental market and it imposes restrictions on a property’s use once it is used as justification for an eviction…

In the case of 3075 Clay St., a four-bedroom, three-bathroom property, the Lees allegedly had advertised it online for tourist lodging since 2009. They described it as an “exquisitely renovated home, in prime Pacific Heights” and charged between $395 and $595 per night for a minimum stay of three nights.

In doing so, Herrera said the owners failed to get conditional use authorization from the city, which at the time was required for commercial use of residential properties. The city has since adopted new rules for short-term rentals…

San Francisco’s Planning Department repeatedly cited the Lees for their illegal use of the property for commercial tourist lodging, even collecting penalties of as much $250 per day for violations. At one point, the Lees assured planning officials that the units were rented to long-term tenants, the “then defiantly resumed marketing and renting their property to tourists, which ultimately led Herrera to file his lawsuit,” Herrera’s office said.

“They were very cooperative with the City Attorney’s office once we filed the lawsuit,” said Deputy City Attorney Michael Weiss… (more)

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One Comment leave one →
  1. holeshothunter permalink
    August 3, 2015 4:59 am

    I only wish there was some jail time involved for those greedy cubts.

    Like

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