After seven attempts, the owners of 74-76 Castro who reside in 76 Castro won the right to condo convert their two-unit building by way of the 2010 condominium conversion lottery.
The approved parcel map required for the conversion is, however, being appealed by the tenant in number 74 and will be heard by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors tomorrow.
At issue, whether or not the tenant’s HIV positive condition qualifies as being disabled, and as such entitles the tenant to a lifetime lease of the unit pursuant to San Francisco Subdivision Code 1391. And at stake, a potential eviction (post-conversion) if not.
We’ll note that from a procedural standpoint the tenant will likely be found to have prematurely claimed a lifetime lease, a right the Subdivision Code grants after conversion. And without an eviction on record, the parcel map and condo conversion will likely should be upheld (with the lifetime lease issue likely returning after).
We’ll also note that the building owners assert that the tenant offered to drop his claim in exchange for $150,000.
Appeal of Tentative Parcel Map for 74-76 Castro Street []
San Francisco Board of Supervisors Agenda: January 3, 2011 []

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by diemos

    If the city wants to provide below market rate housing to certain classes of people then they should buy some apartment buildings and rent them out, not put unfunded mandates on property owners.

  2. Posted by curmudgeon

    This thread could get nasty.
    As a gay man, I have to say that I know there are still some people who play try to play the “disabled” card where HIV is concerned, but but most people in the community think it’s ridiculous. You see it most often with handicapped placard (but we know that people will use ANY excuse to get those…we need a lot more public shaming on that particular abuse), but people also try to bend rent control laws in their favor as well given the money involved.
    I believe that it generally requires an AIDS diagnosis to be considered disabled under ADA, and the same should be true locally. In this day in age, that diagnosis can be many many years after HIV infection (if ever).
    There are always people who will try to take advantage of whatever opportunities there are to game the system. Without knowing all the details I can’t say that is the case here, but it happens.

  3. Posted by rr

    I have one relative who is HIV+ and she seems to live a reasonably happy, normal life, aside from the few things that are dramatically different, like regular anti retro-viral meds, etc.
    On the other hand, I am not familiar with all HIV cases or lives, so it seems like this is a place where a hearing could be in order.
    It seems like a risky move on the part of the tenant, as I suspect his/her HIV status will become part of the public record for the sole purpose of perhaps maintaining an apartment.
    If I understand it correctly, post conversion the tenant has to be given the option to lease even if not disabled, but without the lifetime option. To evict the tenant would be an eviction without cause, a major headache for the property owners and a $3500 cash payout to the tenant. I hear that it is relatively common for landlords to pay 5-digit sums to tenants who do not want to be evicted in order to avoid the eviction stamp and the legal headache. Without knowing all the details of the case or the tenant’s living situation, perhaps he/she should be satisfied with a $15,000 payout instead of a $150,000 payout.

  4. Posted by anonee

    diemos is right!

  5. Posted by SF Comments

    This is just another perfect example of the potential EXTENT of tenant abuses against landlords.
    What if the landlord had HIV, should that give him or her the potential right to evict his/her tenants or bypass any existing rent board rules?
    If HIV is not warranted as a disabilty under ADA, this tenant should have no claim to protected status. Move on.

  6. Posted by oscar

    ugh, i completely agree with diemos. i hate the govt intervening and requiring landlords to provide life-long leaseholds. this should be considered a taking under the law and the govt should have to pay for these units. i have no idea whether hiv is recognized as a disability under the ADA, but even if it is not, i can imagine the sf liberals that run this city declaring that it is.
    you can definitely see what a fraudulent claim this is when the “disabled” tenant wants $150k to move out. people like this who are trying to game the system are ruining it for everyone else.

  7. Posted by meep

    in my opinion this is fraud pure and simple
    it needs to be established wether the tenent is HIV+ or does he have AIDS. they are not the same thing and very different.
    if someone has full blown AIDS and are suffering from the results of an impaired immune system than ADA protection is justified.(of course someone with an impaired immune system lifetime lease may be a lot shorter)
    someone HIV+ can have an immune system that functions normally and other than having to take medications daily have no ill effects from the condition.
    if the tenant wins this appeal the owners should hire a lawyer and Infectous disease specialist as an expert witness but it might be cheaper to just pay the tenant off.
    this is not good.

  8. Posted by myopinion

    wow…i’ve never responded to anything on this site (although i love reading the coments), but i have to say something here as this is crazy.
    while i’m very sympathetic to those who have HIV, to call this guy disabled is a joke. take a look at the link above! also, if you actually read the complaint, you will see the owners are elderly men (who might be gay themselves) and are extremely involved in charity and organization supporting the LBGT community.
    clearly another case of somebody using the legal system incorrectly. this guy should be ashamed of himself as these laws were setup to protect people who have true disabilities. I appreciate that one law can’t fit all (and there should be rights for people with HIV/AIDs), but to me this guy should be called out for setting back the incredible progress people have made in in SF for the LBGT community. Truly disappointing – i hope he has to pay the legal fees of the owners after he losses this.

  9. Posted by A.T.

    Ridiculous local laws at play here.
    Of course someone who is HIV positive is disabled under the ADA.
    A tenant in a rent-controlled unit that condo converts continues to be protected under the rent control ordinance, whether he/she is disabled or not. It is only after the unit is sold that the ordinance no longer applies.
    While a lifetime lease would apply even if the unit were sold, if the new owner wanted the tenant out the place could still be “Ellised” regardless of the local ordinance as long as the owner did not actually sign a life lease (any lease arising under local law is trumped by the state Ellis Act).
    So this guy is picking the only battle he can – try to disrupt the conversion process and keep the place as TICs (and under rent control) in the hopes that the owner won’t Ellis and sell as TICs. The owner can still get rid of the guy but just won’t realize the windfall from the Condo lottery.

  10. Posted by meep

    i went to the ada web site and want to amend my statement :this is not fraud but a bad law.
    the law was passed in 1990 20 years ago when tx for hicv was a lot different.
    the law needs to be amended,
    what the tenant id doing may not be right but it is legal

  11. Posted by formerly%whatever

    Condo conversion is not a property right, but rather something that is allowed under the city code, so the city can impose any “reasonable” condition for the privilege to convert. What qualifies as a disability in an OMI eviction, may not be a disability under Ellis eviction, and may be different in this case.

  12. Posted by BobN

    you can definitely see what a fraudulent claim this is when the “disabled” tenant wants $150k to move out
    You see fraud, I see a more reality-based assessment of the true “cost” of leaving a rent-controlled apartment in the City than is involved in most negotiations of this sort. I’m not defending the alleged amount, just pointing out that 15K probably wouldn’t cover many months of increased rent for a comparable place.

  13. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    Let’s see what the crowd thinks of this from another perspective.
    I (in real life) have an inherited form of macular degeneration that is slowly causing me to go blind. But as of right now, I am not legally blind (I can still drive a car, etc.). So … does my condition qualify me as “disabled” under the ADA? Or do I only get to trot out the “disabled” card when I actually cross over the threshold to legal blindness? (20/200 visual acuity, or worse).
    You can see an almost exact parallel between my condition and the person in this article, except that my condition is genetic and this guy acquired his ‘disability’ through risky behavior. I personally would say that neither he nor I are disabled at this time and his claim is complete bullshit.

  14. Posted by A.T.

    JNLB, not exactly the same. This guy has a disability but it has been mitigated (at least as long as the drugs keep working). You do not yet have a disability. There were a lot of legal machinations a few years ago whether a person with a “treated” disability (e.g. one with poor vision who wears glasses, or a diabetic who takes insulin) was “disabled” at all and thus eligible for any ADA protections. While the Supreme Court said “No” Congress amended the ADA in 2009 to say “Yes.” The people have spoken.

  15. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    How does untreated HIV constitute a disability, exactly? AIDS, I understand. That’s when you have no immune system and are dying. But HIV just means you’re a carrier. It’s not even certain that his condition will progress to full-blown AIDS at all.
    Since there is no treatment for my condition, the point is moot. I will definitely go blind and nothing can stop it.

  16. Posted by curmudgeon

    I think this is a case where the letter of the law makes no real sense. But we’re getting far afield from this blog (as seen in my own earlier comments which were shown to be factually untrue regarding the ADA and HIV).

  17. Posted by rr

    Do you believe all evicted without cause tenants should be compensated to the tune of $150,000?
    This mess shows what happens when we try to fix broken rules with more rules. Both sides have something to lose, so it’ll end up in court, but it would have been less of an issue had the market not been so distorted by rules in the first place.

  18. Posted by Longtime-Lurker

    Such an obvious money grab, and so typical.
    The greed displayed by this tenant is nauseating. He didn’t get his free lifetime cheap rent, then he didn’t get a $150K payout for doing nothing, so he will now sue.
    You have to wonder how many young, interesting,valuable, creative people this City haloses because they cannot afford to indirectly subsidize this [person’s] cheap rent.

  19. Posted by meep

    at this point people on Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART) are believed to have a signifigantly decreased progression to AIDS .hiv is becoming a chronic disease like diabetes or hypertention where if you take your meds as directed you have a good outcome if you do not you life span is decreased.
    if people on these regimens are not having side effects they should be treated in this case the same as someone with diabetes or hypertention.

  20. Posted by sfrenegade

    I agree with diemos here. Things like “lifetime leases” only encourage abuse by tenants, just like what’s happening here. I will correct Mr. Hyland’s attorney’s quote to be a more accurate representation of reality:
    “In a city like San Francisco, affordable housing policies are very quickly making it a city of the extremely wealthy.”

  21. Posted by BobN

    I guess you missed my second sentence.

  22. Posted by tipster

    “Or do I only get to trot out the “disabled” card when I actually cross over the threshold to legal blindness? (20/200 visual acuity, or worse).”
    Um, I hate to break this to you, but I think when you get to that point, you kinda lose your license altogether.

  23. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    Actually you lose your driving license, technically, at 20/80 or worse. But imagine driving with 20/79 eyesight, with no night vision to speak of, in a 400-hp M3. Strictly speaking, that would be legal. Nothing could go wrong.

  24. Posted by sfatty

    I’m not saying I like it, but from a purely legal perspective, yes they have the right to convert at which point an HIV tenant then has the right to a life lease. As AT pointed out however, the owner could still Ellis the building.

  25. Posted by Jimmy (The Compassionate Liberal)

    The point of the whole discussion being that there are many people out there in the world with way worse impending disabilities than the little HIV “poz” masseuse cited in this article. He should be out on the street with no compensation and no recourse and perhaps a kick up the arse for good measure (except he’d probably like that last part).

  26. Posted by oscar

    and why should the landlord be responsible for covering the “many months of increased rent for a comparable place.”
    just another reason why no one really benefits under rent control. tenants are “locked” into residences and can’t move out cause paying “market” rent is too high. landlords lose cause they are forced to subsidize ridiculous rents and are liable for outrageous payouts for even mentioning that tenants should move out. i’m all for letting the market decide the prices. without rent control, i’m certain the “market” rates will go down. yes, there will be some losers in this situation (i.e., the person with hiv claiming he disabled under the law), but at least its equitable.

  27. Posted by Eric in SF

    oscar – everyone trots out Boston/Cambridge as being an example of rents NOT falling, and in fact continuing to increase, after the repeal of rent control.
    Is anyone aware of any more recent examples of rent control being removed in an area with “infinite demand” (as has been described of the SF rental market)?

  28. Posted by abc

    To me, the issue here is not whether HIV is a legitimate disability or not, the issue is that the tenant could have any disability and somehow that entitles them to lifetime rent subsidized by a private citizen (their landlord). Where I come from, that’s what government-sponsored social services are around to help out with.
    Even more appalling, the tenant could be making $150k or more per year and yet, their landlord would still be required to subsidize their rent.
    From a quick read of the docs, it appears that this tenant is paying $2800 a month in rent, which is by no means a small amount. There are many apartments available in the city in nice neighborhoods at that price point. It’s not like this tenant is paying $200 a month and has been there since 1960. My sympathies are with the landlords and if I were them, I would ellis act the building and hope that a more moderate board of supervisors will allow easier TIC to condo conversions in the coming years.

  29. Posted by sfrenegade

    “To me, the issue here is not whether HIV is a legitimate disability or not, the issue is that the tenant could have any disability and somehow that entitles them to lifetime rent subsidized by a private citizen (their landlord). Where I come from, that’s what government-sponsored social services are around to help out with.”
    Exactly. Instead of making broadly applicable laws that create severe distortions and are ripe for abuse, we could do what makes sense. If helping the disabled pay their rent or keep the elderly in their rental properties is determined to be a good goal, we could do it in an intelligent way with social services instead of a stupid way by having landlords subsidize people. An income phaseout would be perfectly reasonable, especially when this guy is paying $2800/mo for rent, which is no small amount, even as rent in this city goes.
    It’s the same reason Prop 13 is ridiculous. There are many better ways to limit property tax or constrain budgets. Prop 13 is a particularly stupid way to do both and is extremely broad with tons of unintended consequences.

  30. Posted by orio

    Boy, I love this tenant. We need a story like this once in a while to scare investors away, such that the existing landlords, like myself, can profit big.
    Go check out rent levels in Sunnyvale, and one can see what rental laws in SF has done.
    Example – a 3/1 SFH in CherryChase area is asking $2495. Something like that would sell for $750K. A $750K condo in SF (2/2 in Pac Hts) can EASILY rent $3200.

  31. Posted by Buy High Sell Low

    If one googles the plaintiff, one finds a shirtless photo of him advertising “sensual bodywork.” I think one can draw some obvious conclusions from that and perhaps with luck even evict him on that alone depending on his interpretation of “sensual” thus providing a true happy ending to this ridiculous situation.

  32. Posted by abc

    A quick search on Yelp indicates that he works out of his apartment. So not only are the landlords subsidizing his rent, but they are subsidizing his cost of doing business. I would bet that he writes off his rent as a business expense as well.

  33. Posted by curmudgeon

    eric, on the issue of rent control in Cambridge (I’m not as familiar with Boston..I’m not sure they ever had it, actually). In Cambridge, rent values were permanently affixed to the unit, and there was no vacancy decontrol as there is here. So rents were artificially VERY low for an area with very high demand, so when rent control was finally repealed of course rents went up. I think that would be much less the case here, where a substantial number of apartments are already at or near market.
    I can’t answer your question about other cities, but that is one city I’m familiar with, and it’s not a very good comparison to SF for those reasons.

  34. Posted by StockBoySF

    Let me get this straight… the tenant exercises, works full time, has no physically limiting disabilities and has a sympathetic doctor willing to write a note saying the tenant’s health will be at risk because of all the stress a move would incur. Yet the tenant persists in creating stress not just for himself but for the owners who are two Vietnam war vets who are retired and ARE physically disabled.
    As far as I’m concerned the tenant should be hung by his toenails.
    One thing to note: the tenant’s clients claim the condo lotto conversion hurts the working class and helps the rich. Well I say the condo lottery exists (I thought) so only a certain number of units could be converted each year. Tenants are bound to lose, but thankfully not many each year. If a tenant wants a permanent home, they can buy one themselves, or move to a place where they can afford one. This particular tenant is just a whiny queen who acts like a victim.
    I also want to point out something to the person who said the tenant contracted HIV by engaging in risky behavior. I think we all have sex. Anyway, I don’t know how the tenant contracted HIV but he could very well have taken precautions to keep himself negative and failed along the way. I know people who contracted HIV because a condom broke, or because their partner (in a supposedly monogamous relationship) slept around, contracted it and passed it along. I have a straight friend whose girlfriend was a drug user and she passed it on to him.
    The point I’m making is that the tenant is an absolute a**hole and that’s what makes me mad the most- his current actions, but let’s not judge him because he’s HIV positive or assume he engaged in risky behavior and is somehow responsible for contracting the disease. I don’t know anyone- straight or gay- who has had safe sex 100% of the time. Anyone could have contracted it whenever they did not have safe sex, though I think science suggests that multiple exposures are necessary for most people to contract HIV.
    Generally my thoughts are in line with those of abc and meep, who petty much made the other points I had (and then some observations I didn’t have).

  35. Posted by grumpy

    So if a person in a similar situation as this tenant is a homeowner and suffers a drop in income and is no longer able to keep up the mortgage, are there any protections for that person to keep them in their home for life?

  36. Posted by diemos

    ^ Have you not been paying attention? There are lot’s of people in this country who have not been paying their mortgage for years without consequence.

  37. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    I’m usually on the side of the tenant, but here, I have to agree with “Buy High Sell Low” and “abc”, this guy doesn’t deserve any sympathy.
    Skipping over the obvious objections about discretionary high-risk behavior possibly being the proximate cause of his HIV status (and StockBoySF’s answer to them), every lease I’ve ever signed contained a “quiet enjoyment” clause that prevented me from operating a business out of the subject apartment without a separate rider approved and signed by the landlord.
    Board of Supervisors appeal or no, if I were the owner(s), assuming that such a clause was in fact in this guy’s lease (neither attorney’s letters mention it, of course it’s not relevant to the issue of the plantiff’s disability or lack thereof), I’d evict him on that basis after the conversion closed. Or at least I’d try, I’m not a lawyer.
    All that said, I predict the appeal will be/was denied. Michael C. Hall’s letter was just a hell of a lot more convincing on both the law and the facts.

  38. Posted by grumpy

    only an idiot would tie these two issues.

  39. Posted by noearch

    You can comment and criticize this tenant all you want on his activities and whether he is “disabled” or not.
    But I do draw the line when someone says he contracted hiv thru “risky behavior”. You don’t know that and you are being judgmental. Educate yourself: hiv can be contracted thru other means,not defined as “risky” such as blood transfusions, or babies born to an hiv mother.
    Remember, hiv is a disease, not a social defect.

  40. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    The guy’s occupation is a gay masseuse (aka “Rent Boy”).
    That, by definition, is a risky occupation. Educate yourself buddy!

  41. Posted by grumpy

    so apparently there is no issue with the law, just that a gay prostitute is using it. Typical sanctimonious San Francisco bullshit. Laws don’t discriminate based on occupation, it appears that alot of people need education. Buddy!

  42. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    No, you’re wrong. Gay prostitution constitutes risky behavior. Go back and read my original post, then comment.

  43. Posted by Alex in Santa Clara

    So to me this sounds more like a shakedown of the property owners than a bona fide desire to continue to live in this particular apartment…
    A modest proposal then – how about adding 2 regulations for these “lifetime leases”:
    1) Tenant agrees to a minimum 5-year lease term with the entire lease cost payable to the landlord even if the tenant moves out. At the end of each five year term, tenant may sign another 5-year lease under the same conditions in order to keep the rent controlled lease rate or lose rent control protections.
    2) Tenant may not be paid off by the landlord. Landlord may evict the tenant per usual law. Tenant may only invoke rent control protection by signing a 5-year lease as per (1).

  44. Posted by noearch

    Nope, I think you’re wrong. Prostitution, gay or straight, in and of itself, “may” include risky behavior or not. You don’t know that, but you’re automatically assuming the behavior is risky. That’s narrow minded.
    My viewpoint is more aligned with StockboySF: we are in no position to know how or why this person contracted hiv. To speculate and then judge is lazy and cheap.

  45. Posted by grumpy

    So what? The issue is if a disability entitles someone to a lifetime lease. Your the one that is picking and choosing who qualifies for disability on the grounds of how they became disabled, ie. your judgement.
    Besides, disability is defined as not being able to do the job that you were trained to do or your occupation. I’m not sure what this person did before and how HIV has effected his ability to work in his trained field, and no one else does except him and his doctor.
    There are many people with HIV that are disabled and excercise. Muscle mass is what keeps the body able to fight off illness, specially with a compromised immune system. That does not mean that the person is able to do other things, he may crash after the gym, who knows. We don’t know if there is other nerve damage or vision damage or may not even be able to add 1 + 1 and come up with 2, or anything else that precludes him from doing what he was trained to do.
    I have a problem with the fact that the rent laws allow for this to happen and there is nothing that assists a home-owner in the same situation. And I believe many of you would say that home-ownership is for fools and idiots and deserve the same for engaging in risky behavior such as purchasing real-estate. Apparently, renters are the only victims who need assistance, as long as they are not gay prostitutes with HIV+.

  46. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    Let’s see: one disability is a result of a lifestyle choice, the other you are born with. Let’s see if you geniuses can figure out the difference.

  47. Posted by A.T.

    Disability status has zero to do with how one became disabled. If one drives a car too fast in a risky manner, crashes it, and winds up in a wheelchair, one is disabled. Positive HIV status is a disability whether it was acquired through a transfusion or unprotected prostitution services.
    But that is NOT the relevant issue here. The relevant issue is whether this tenant’s perceived likelihood he will be evicted – even though no eviction proceedings have commenced – is sufficient to trigger the ordinance. It clearly is not, but if I were the owners’ lawyer I’d try to put this off until the new supes are sworn in as the outgoing idiots do not care what the law says or means.

  48. Posted by noearch

    @ Jimmy: to me, your latest comment is full of angst and personal “baggage”. You seem extremely judgmental and critical; not much compassion there.
    so how does a baby born with hiv fit into your model of good vs. evil?

  49. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    Yes, I reserve the right to characterize risky behaviors as “risky.”

  50. Posted by Jimmy C

    I think we’re clear here that the tenant is a coniving loser.
    However with regards to an eviction, if the “couple” who owns both units could claim they are breaking up and one needs to move into the other unit, hence an owner move in eviction, doesn’t that trump his “disabled” status?
    With all the laws about laws and supplemental rules, that usually leaves loopholes on both sides. I was always under the impression that an owner or an owners relative could always evict the tentant regardless of status for a nominal fee.

  51. Posted by grumpy

    I’m sure I’m not a genius. But having been a paramedic, I actually can’t tell the difference Jimmy. I served all that needed emergency aid, regardless of how the injuries came to be. Even when I was beat up by the people that wanted the victim to die. I’m a different person now, grumpy to say the least but some things don’t change. Thanks for reminding me.

  52. Posted by noearch

    No JimmyC, we’re not ALL clear that the tenant is a “conniving loser”. You may be, I’m not.
    @ grumpy: thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree, and would hope others here share some of that compassion as well, rather than just go thru life “bitter”.

  53. Posted by Jimmy C

    sorry noearch… he is a loser with one hand in the pocket of the taxpayers and those who contribute to society. Why can’t this guy work on his “clients” in a nice apartment in Daly City?

  54. Posted by StockBoySF

    It’s not “masseuse” which is a strictly female term. He is a gay masseur. Whether or not he is a prostitute and engages in risky behavior is unknown.
    As far as him being a loser… I can tell you by his actions I think he is not a very dynamic or positive (truly- no pun intended) person.
    I just now looked him up on the web (as did Buy HIgh Sell Low and abc earlier). He does deep tissue massage… that requires strength. My massage guy (who is perfectly healthy) tells me that doing massage is very draining. It is very physically demanding. So again… I don’t believe he is disabled. If he truly did want to live a stress free life he’d practice (and teach) yoga.
    I’d also like to know why some folks on here say “gay prostitution” is risky behavior. Isn’t “straight prostitution” just as risky? And many prostitutes these days wear condoms, so their behavior is no more risky than those of us who us condoms when we go out on dates. So please let’s stop with all the judgement around his sexuality and talk about his current actions with regards to pursuing this lawsuit against his landlords, who are most definitely disabled and who apparently worked hard enough over the years to be able to afford a two-unit place in the Castro.

  55. Posted by StockBoySF

    Oh, and to answer the question of this post, “Does Having HIV Make One Disabled?”
    Not automatically. HIV positive people function just like non-HIV positive people, until they become ill which might lead to them being disabled, just as non-HIV positive people become ill and possibly disabled.
    I don’t think being HIV positive creates a “protected class” of people. Though in some places (West Hollywood for instance) if you are HIV positive then you can not be discriminated against in housing if you have pets. The thought being that having pets act as a “de-stresser” and are therapeutic. Studies show that having a pet and caring for it is good medicine. That I understand and support. So maybe the tenant needs a pet dog. How about a Rottweiler? 🙂

  56. Posted by A.T.

    Continued for 3 weeks to January 25.
    My prediction is that the landlords buy out the tenant between now and then. They then condo convert and sell the former tenant’s unit. Everyone gets a little windfall from the condo lottery, including the tax assessor.

  57. Posted by Eric in SF

    StockBoySF – is that your gut feeling or have you checked the Unruh Act and the ADA act and all subsequent case law to see if simply being HIV positive is considered a disability?

  58. Posted by noearch

    Sort of related, but I believe that Social Security and Medicare defines hiv as a disability.

  59. Posted by Dolores Guerrero

    The only thing that matters is not what the Unruh Act or the ADA or Social Security or Medicare say, but what the definition of “disability” is in the San Francisco condo conversion law. It either has a definition contained in the SF condo conversion law, or cross references to a definition of “disability” in some other state or federal law, or is silent as to what a disability is. Hopefully not the latter. Whatever any of us may think of the merits of the tenant’s case, rent control and condo conversion laws, etc., the answer plain and simple is “what does the law say”. I don’t like the fact that any tenant can get a lifetime lease on a condo conversion, but that’s what the law currently says. If you agree with me, then do as I do and go about working within the system to try and change the law.

  60. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    I completely agree with Dolores Guerrero that the way to go is to “…go about working within the system to try and change the law” instead of (just) bellyaching about it on a blog.
    If you’re so sure that San Francisco landlords are a put-upon, downtrodden class of people, and that rent control, below market rate housing requirements, the condominium conversion lottery, etc. are abominations before the almighty god of the free market and simply cannot stand, get yourselves together and pool your considerable capital to but an initiative on the ballot that eliminates each and every one of them. Since the untrammeled free market is the only sensible way to allocate scarce resources, I’m sure voters will agree with you and your measure will win with an overwhelming percentage of the vote.
    Good luck with that.

  61. Posted by noearch

    Nobody is “bellyaching” Brahma, we’re just commenting and offering opinions.

  62. Posted by Money Man

    There shouldn’t be any “tenant rights”, other than what’s in the lease agreement that they execute. When the lease is up, the rate should be raised as much as the market allows and when the owner wants to not renew the lease, then that’s his choice, as long as he gives the notice required by the state statues.
    No property owner should be held hostage by a tenant. It’s not their property, so they have not rights to it. Period.

  63. Posted by StockBoySF

    Eric in SF: I was offering my opinion. I was not trying to educate anyone on what the law said. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

  64. Posted by Eric in SF

    StockBoy – thanks for the clarification.
    Money Man – thankfully most states in the USA disagree with you. Even the most conservative state recognizes that having stable housing for the population is more important than private property rights and give some of those private property rights over to the renter.

  65. Posted by A.T.

    Eric (your photos are excellent), I believe that rent control laws are quite rare in the U.S. and MoneyMan’s scenario is the rule almost everywhere, except perhaps for mobile home parks (makes sense as these are not really “mobile” so the landlord owns you). I agree that rent control laws harm the very people they are designed to help, but I’m also a big fan of the ballot box and the people of SF have spoken. Voters enact stupid laws that are against their self-interest all the time.
    As for this “disability-life lease” ordinance at issue, I’m fine with this. Nobody is “entitled” to convert their multi-unit building into individual condos, and it is fair for the city to condition the conversion to protect disabled tenants (I agree that the definition of “disabled” is too broad here, however). An owner always has the option of not converting and Ellis’ing the building to get rid of a tenant. Owners might grouse about losing the windfall that would come with conversion, but it is just that, a windfall, to which they have no vested right.
    As I stated above, I believe here a solution will be arrived at where all parties get a bit of that windfall – not a bad result (if my prediction bears out).

  66. Posted by Eric in SF

    A.T. – I think we’re in complete agreement. While I am the beneficiary of rent control in San Francisco I do agree it’s not been a positive for the city over the years.
    I took Money Man’s position to be that private property rights should trump everything when rentals are concerned. I.E. landlords can enter their private property at whim, not provide habitable housing, etc. All of those things are regulated by law, even in the most private-property friendly states, but Money Man would have it removed and be up to each renter/landlord to negotiate such basic amenities in their leases. That just leads to a race to the bottom and poor rental stock for the community.
    PS. Thanks for the photo kudos!

  67. Posted by zarra

    I am in the same situation. I am actually buying a house in short sale. It is not mine yet. Inside the house there is 2 guys, one has hiv.
    They do not pay the rent to the actual owner since january i believe. The actual owner did not pay morgage and left them in the house, he gave them an eviction notice on the first of may. They also forged the owner’s signature on a new contract. The one who has hiv says he will go to court and they will not evict him because of hiv. He wants 18000 dollars. We gave them today 3 days notice…. Any advice?

  68. Posted by diemos

    Find a lawyer familiar with sf’s laws. This is not the time for the amateur hour.
    The phrase “3 days notice” leads me to believe that you have zero experience with being a landlord in sf.

  69. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    @zarra: I would delay the closing date until the hiv tenant is gone. Did you add that in as a contingency in the purchase contract (must be delivered vacant)? Now that the bank and the seller (and the agent) are tantalizingly close to closing the transaction they will be more willing to deal I think.

  70. Posted by zarra

    Can i start renovating while they are still inside the house? Can i move in too? I have a friend coming to help with renovation, can he move in?

  71. Posted by zarra

    Yes we have in the contract: “must be delivered vacant”
    But hiv gives him the right to stay there? like seriously?? Does someone knows how it works in the city of hollywood? I did read this:
    “Can I be evicted even if I am living with HIV?
    Yes. You may still be evicted from your apartment if you fail to meet the terms of the rental agreement (for example, if you fail to pay rent, cause frequent disturbances, etc). This includes housing specifically designated for individuals who are HIV positive. However, you may not be evicted because of your HIV status.”
    But it is for wisconsin. Is it the same in hollywood?

  72. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    What does Hollywood have to do with this?

  73. Posted by zarra

    Well it is different in every city. I read something about san francisco where they have different laws for hiv people.

  74. Posted by lol

    I would be very cautious before purchasing anything with a tenant in an area that is notorious for its community activism if you are not ready to play by that community’s written or unwritten rules.
    A place that come to mind: The Castro Country Club building (4058-4060 18th) that has been listed for more than 6 months with very aggressive 20+% reductions. It will take a very specific buyer because this is almost a community landmark. This means a great discount on a place that seems to be producing a very decent income. They’re definitely looking for that unique match.

  75. Posted by zarra


  76. Posted by sfrenegade

    I’m sorry, you have reached a blog that is not about Hollywood. Please hang up and try again. If you need help, please see page 65 of your Internet users manual.

  77. Posted by zarra

    oh ok lol
    So you guys have no clue what is going on else where? Sorry i will not post again.

  78. Posted by Jimmy (No Longer Bitter)

    We don’t even really know what’s going on in San Francisco. We just pretend.

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