Chronicle says 'No on B' (and so do I)

An editorial in Saturday’s Chronicle suggests a NO vote on Proposition B,

Proposition B is a re-run of housing controls rightly vetoed by Mayor Gavin Newsom. The measure requires a property owner to disclose if an elderly or disabled tenant was kicked out prior to sale.

The proposal is another salvo in the war between tenant and landlord forces in a city famed for costly real estate and ballot fights. Proposition B does nothing but add a guilt trip on would-be buyers looking to buy a home. It won’t create or preserve any housing for the tenants it pretends to protect. No on B.

I agree wholeheartedly with this suggestion. And I do not endorse the eviction of tenants (protected or not) for the purposes of real estate speculation. The way this measure is written, it just expects that we’ll (as real estate agents) make this disclosure ‘available’ at all open houses. What does available mean? I suppose I could put it in the freezer, and it would be available, right? Does that serve anyone’s best interest?

Voting NO on B would not be about agreeing with evictions or about encouraging them. It’s about squashing poorly written legislation.

Other variations on this legislation were suggested, but were shot down by Daly et al., that would have put the disclosure in front of interested buyers prior to presentation of an offer to purchase. But that’s not what this is about for Daly. This is about impeding the purchase process in any way imaginable and not about protecting tenants.

Daly submits proposed ordinances for June ballot [SFHomeBlog]
Proposition B Ellis Act Notification – an editorial [SFHomeBlog]
Proposition B: Flawed, Unnecessary and Misleading [SF TIC Coalition]
Prop. B Nothing But a ‘Guilt Trip’ [BeyondChron]


15 Responses to “Chronicle says 'No on B' (and so do I)”

  1. Mr. Greedy Conservative in SF,
    Here is what Beyond Chron says,
    “That’s why the Chronicle’s argument that Prop. B ‘won’t…preserve any housing for the tenants it pretends to protect’ doesn’t make sense. There’s simply no question that informing more potential buyers about the eviction history of homes on the market will slow the purchase of those homes. And every building where a landlord decides not to evict senior or disabled people because those homes are harder to sell represents preserved housing for tenants.

    However, an even more offensive aspect in the Chronicle’s anti-Prop. B screed is their equating more consumer disclosure with a ‘guilt-trip.’ By this line of reasoning, lead would never have been listed as a dangerous additive to paint because it makes people feel guilty. The Surgeon General’s warning on packs of cigarettes would be taken off, because the government should not worry smokers. And right now, the holes in the ozone would be getting bigger instead of smaller, as CFCs would have never been listed as an ingredient on aerosol cans.

    In the words, of tenant leader Ted Gullicksen, “Maybe people should feel guilty about evictions.”

    Whether it’s a new home or bag of potato chips, this city’s residents want more information about the goods they buy, not less. And if that information is unpleasant – say, the fact that a disabled senior was permanently forced out of San Francisco to create a vacant home – the chances are that the resulting ‘guilt trip’ will help make this city a better place.”

    Anonymous at June 1st, 2006 at 12:12 pm ( )
  2. Matt said: “I do not endorse the eviction of tenants (protected or not) for the purposes of real estate speculation.”

    You say real estate speculation. But are you for evictions other than speculation and what would those be?

    ben at June 1st, 2006 at 12:15 pm ( )
  3. In response to the personal attacker in the first comment (why do you people feel compelled to attack me anyhow? what is the point?), I’m neither greedy nor conservative, and I linked to the BeyondChron piece, so of course I read it. I have yet to agree with anything that they have written, but I posted it anyhow to show how out of touch they are with reality.

    But either way, we’re arguing about two different points.

    My point (if you read my post) was in the composition of the legislation [PDF]. It says “Any disclosure required by this Subsection (i) that is made on a flier or other document describing the property which is made available to prospective purchasers at each open house and at any tour through the property will constitute compliance with the disclosure requirements of this Subsection (i).

    So explain to me what ‘made available’ means. Who’s to say that a less-than-ethical real estate agent won’t hide the disclosure where it can’t be found (yet it still could be considered ‘available’)? Also, who’s to say that someone couldn’t come into an open house, steal all of an agent’s disclosures, then report that agent for failure to have the disclosures ‘available’?

    The proper way to make this disclosure available is to provide it (along with ALL of the rest of the disclosures) prior to the writing of an offer to purchase. At that time a buyer reviews how old the roof is, how much the homeowner’s association dues are, what their financing looks like, and if there were any evictions on the property. That is HOW IT IS CURRENTLY DONE. We have a legal requirement to provide a disclosure RIGHT NOW stating how any vacant units became vacant. That is normally presented prior to a buyer writing an offer.

    If a buyer cares (which, to be honest, most of them just plan DON’T CARE), they can request that information at any time prior to writing an offer. The law states that it must happen within three days of offer acceptance, at the very latest.

    So this garbage that Daly spewed in order to get this on the ballot about the disclosure being presented to buyers on the last day of escrow is ridiculous. Just a bold-faced lie.

    Once again, this is Daly at his finest. His intentions _might_ be good (in some people’s opinion), but his execution of legislation is pathetic. There are a myriad of ways that he could be helping tenants and helping his district (or the entire city), but he chooses the low road every time. And this one (if it passes next Tuesday) will not clear the courts. It’s too ambiguous.

    So where does that leave us? Spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars (that could have gone to helping tenants!) on a lawsuit for poorly written legislation. Again.

    This is not about helping tenants. This is about Daly trying to keep his job and pretend that he’s doing something beneficial. It’s not going to fly. And just like everything else he’s proposed that hits the courts, it’ll go down in flames using our taxpayer dollars.

    Matt Lanning at June 1st, 2006 at 4:07 pm ( )
  4. And in response to the second comment about evictions, I am not in favor of evictions for speculation, but if you have lived anywhere other than San Francisco or Manhattan, you know that if you own a building, you have the legal right to occupy it. Here you can own a building, but the tenants can hold the building hostage indefinitely (assuming the Ellis Act is not invoked).

    If you read previous posts, my argument against tenant’s rights is in the way that landlords are expected to subsidize housing for the city. If I own a building, why should I be expected to provide this housing at a reduced rate? Why is the government (state or local) not footing the bill?

    Of course it’s because they can’t afford to. And they can’t afford to because of Proposition 13, but that’s another conversation altogether.

    As for tenant’s rights and rent control, if there was a way to means-test tenants, we would have those that NEED the help getting assistance and those who live in Sonoma but want to keep their rent controlled pied-a-terres in Pac Heights paying market rents.

    As for evictions in general, the best way to prevent them is to help people own their homes or their units. That’s the only foolproof way (short of government subsidies that will never exist in California) to keep people in their homes.

    And that’s what my job is. To give people security against evictions. The difference between myself and Daly is that what I do actually works, where as what Daly does only makes housing more expensive and unobtainable. And what I do to help tenants doesn’t result in lawsuits, isn’t unconstitutional, and TRULY helps families stay in San Francisco.

    You can’t please everyone, but I’d like to think that I’ve done more to help families stay in San Francisco than Chris Daly has. On my own, without being in politics, and without any help from ‘downtown business interests’ OR the Tenant’s Union.

    Matt Lanning at June 1st, 2006 at 4:43 pm ( )
  5. Nah, the hell with all of this anyway. Pass prob B or not, all legislation directed from some of the no talent ass clowns in the city government (i.e. Chris Daly), gives more and more reason to discriminate against elderly when renting units.

    And to Chris Daly, why can’t we do something pro San Franciscan, pro development, pro affordable housing, instead of the continuous pro bum/peddler/non-tax payer bull$#!t that flies out of your office everyday?

    Ted Gullicksen and Chris Daly should film “Broke back renter.” The film featuring ‘Rent Control’ and self-fulfilling prophecy that leads negligent renters into a lifelong struggle of fighting an uphill battle that leads to nothing.


    Anonymous at June 1st, 2006 at 8:11 pm ( )
  6. The Chronicle’s argument against this proposition is really lame and condescending, but that doesn’t mean that the proposition itself is reasonable. The real question is why should tenant eviction history be disclosed any differently than the other myriad disclosures that must be made?

    Anonymous at June 1st, 2006 at 8:37 pm ( )
  7. Matt,
    It sounds like you generally agree with the proposition and have a problem with the method of disclosure. If the issue is strictly about problems with disclosure, what’s your solution. If you needed to make the disclosure on any advertisement, would that make you feel better?
    PS What makes you think you’re not a greed conservative. I’m actually interested in the answer, because you sure seem to espouse conservative values and it seems all your opinions are money driven. Thanks.

    Anonymous at June 2nd, 2006 at 11:38 am ( )
  8. Ben, first, why just should just evictions be disclosed in this manner? Aren’t there other MUCH more important considerations in a real estate purchase? Shouldn’t those be plastered on a billboard in front of the house? No. The disclosure process in San Francisco works just fine for buyers as it is. Those who actually purchase homes (not those who will never own homes and will only complain about the process) have no problem receiving disclosures once they decide if they like a property enough to purchase it. Then they review everything (structural, termite, roof, neighborhood nuisances, evictions, parking, storage, upcoming costs, etc), and they decide if they want to proceed with the purchase. Singling out the eviction disclosure serves only one purpose: to bring Daly’s name to the forefront in an attempt to buy himself a few more votes in November (which he ultimately will not get).

    And I’m not even going to bother with your greedy conservative comment. I take offense to that. You don’t know me, and I am neither of the above. So please stop with the personal attacks or I will stop responding to your comments.

    Matt Lanning at June 2nd, 2006 at 1:57 pm ( )
  9. Ben – You say “all” Matt’s opinions are money driven. Yet, his blog captures some of his opinions, yet I don’t see any advertising on the site. Seems to me his opinions are not tied to money, but rather, sound reasoning.

    Anonymous at June 3rd, 2006 at 12:25 am ( )
  10. Man, it’s sound reasoning like yours that makes me proud to be an American. Matt would never advertise.

    Anonymous at June 3rd, 2006 at 2:02 pm ( )
  11. Matt,
    I’m still unclear on your position. It seems like you’re against the proposition because you don’t think it will reduce evictions. But if the eviction disclosure were part of every advertisment for the property, I think it would reduce the price of the house because some people wouldn’t be interested. Surely, this is a possibility.

    I must say that reading in the politics behind your posts, you sure seem conservative. Plus, you’re against Chris Daly who is an advocate for the poor and middle class–those who cannot afford to buy.

    I’d love to know why you don’t think your a conservative.

    ben at June 3rd, 2006 at 2:09 pm ( )
  12. So just like Chris Daly, your reasons for supporting Prop. B have nothing to do with the written intention of the legislation.

    You want housing prices to come down, and if that means that some people get to keep their homes, then so be it. But your logic only accounts for the fact prices ‘might’ drop for units where there has been an eviction, so if you want less-expensive housing, you’ll have to become a part of this vicious cycle.

    The problem with this reasoning is that the value of a 4 unit building with four protected tenants versus the value of that building a year later (there’s a one year notice required on Ellis Act evictions of protected tenants), vacant with individual TIC financing and no possibility of ever being able to condo convert is still HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of dollars higher.

    Whether you believe in evictions or tenants, how can you say that people will not ultimately consider their own retirement, their own nest-egg, over the well-being of their tenants?

    What if your mother owned one investment building and she wanted to retire? Her building with four protected tenants would hypothetically be worth $1M with them in the building or $2M without them (in the scenario posed above). Would you tell her to save the tenants and forego a MILLION DOLLARS of her retirement savings?

    Why is this her responsibility? Why isn’t the goverment taking on the task of subsidizing housing? Why should she be made the ‘criminal’ here?

    I am not saying I agree with evictions. I am merely trying to help you understand that no matter what happens with the ‘Supes, people are still going to make more money off of a building by selling it vacant. Even with all of the current restrictions in place.

    And if your idea of being conservative involves not supporting idiotic legislation that only serves to ultimately hurt those who it intends to help, then I must be ‘conservative’. Thus far, you are the only one who has ever called me that, though.

    Matt Lanning at June 3rd, 2006 at 5:09 pm ( )
  13. Matt,
    You’ve said a lot and not in the most concise way. First, I think you’re a conservative based on all of the opinions I’ve read, not just this one. Second, I’m not worried about the rich grandma, she can afford it. Third, and this is critical, the government refuses subsidize housing by taxing the rich; thus, this is a second best solution. I’m for the subsidies, but until then, I’ll take what I can get.

    PS Why are you not a conservative? You still haven’t answered.

    ben at June 4th, 2006 at 3:28 pm ( )
  14. Ben…from your last post it sounds like you believe local government is incompetent and doesn’t make the hard choices to provide subsidies for your rent. Based on that you further believe that justifies local government taking the easy road and taking advantage of people that at some point in the past were able to purchase a building. Make no mistake there are many, MANY more small-time rental property owners in SF than the big ‘BAD’ landlords that rent control was orginially trying to control.

    Also, you say the rich grandma can look after herself but does that mean if she were YOUR grandma you’d expect her to forgo the extra $$$$ she could bring in by useing the Ellis Act?

    Finally, I keep reading acusations, and not just from you Ben – and they have been directed at myself previously as well, about Matt being a conservative.

    To call someone a conservative based on their thoughts about one issue is ridiculous. Would you label President Bush a ‘liberal’ because he supports a guest worker program and some form of amnesty for illegal immigrants? I don’t think so.

    So why don’t we stop throwing labels around as if that furthers ANY argument and stick to expressing our own opinions and respecting other’s thoughts as well.


    CameronRex at June 5th, 2006 at 5:01 pm ( )
  15. Cameron,
    I love how you swoop in with a few vapid comments then leave when the going gets tough. In our last exchange, I took your silence as consent that many “socialist” countries are superior to the US, including France.

    Regarding your comments here:
    1. I’m not arguing for myself to benefit. I don’t get, want, or need subsidies.
    2. The local gov’t is hamstrung by developers and realtors (and, yes, activists) so they can’t implement the right policies. I would love to have subsidies and means testing for rent control.
    3. If my grandma had 1million in a building she rents, I would not tell her to Ellis Act it. I think that would send her right to Hell. You know, property rights were created by man.
    4. Matt’s been asked several times to say what makes him think he’s not a conservative and he’s refused to respond. For me, I’ve read his posts and he’s about as conservative as you get in San Francisco, imo. Or it could be that he’s super greedy and it comes off as conservative, so it’s unclear. KK

    kk at June 6th, 2006 at 10:30 am ( )

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