40-44 Pleasant Street

The application to legally convert the three one-bedroom Nob Hill flats at 40-44 Pleasant Street from residential units into ‘hotel rooms,’ a move which would allow the building’s absentee owner to continue renting the apartments on a short-term basis, which is currently illegal per San Francisco’s so-called Airbnb Law, was unanimously denied by San Francisco’s Planning Commission last night.

As we first reported about the case earlier this week, the owner of the building has been facing the threat of daily fines for over a year.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Oh Dear

    How did the city find out about this to begin with….dumb question eh?

    [Editor’s Note: Follow the link to the building owner above.]

  2. Posted by Orland

    What other result could there possibly have been,

  3. Posted by Ellis Zactor

    more interference with property rights, this is a “taking,” she should sue the city.

    • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

      Zero chance of a “taking” lawsuit succeeding.

      She has great options available: (1) rent them as 30+ day corporate rentals, (2) rent them out as regular tenancies, (3) 1031 exchange for an income property in a non-RC jurisdiction, or (4) sell. Any one of those options will be very profitable – maybe just not as profitable as continuing to use it as an illegal hotel.

      • Posted by jag149

        It’s nice to see the rare, reasonable voice in the comments section here. Agree. If you buy property in a rent control jurisdiction, you have no basis to complain about regulations designed to bolster rent control. As for takings, this is literally the opposite of a permanent physical occupation, and your examples show why the airbnb law has questionable, if any, affect on the value of this property. She also can’t use it as an auto-detailing service, a meth lab or a night club. Damn government!

        • Posted by ya ya ya

          yeah – we shouldn’t regulate meth labs. . . we need our freedoms.

        • Posted by Fishchum

          Except I believe this building did not qualify for rent control when she bought it in 1993 (I think 4 units or less and you were exempt from rent control) so it isn’t fair to use the argument “she knew what she was getting into”.

          • Posted by Bight

            Four units or less were initially exempt from rent control only if one of the units in the building was owner occupied.

          • Posted by jag149

            That’s a good point (Prop I was before my day, so I don’t think about it a lot). However, I think that, if you’re talking about economic regulation generally, you have to concede that all of these arguments revert to the same thing, which is that this is a highly regulated market. As of 1979, owners of rental property have been on notice that their “business” is subject to severe regulation. (And even back in the day, landlords who purchased before rent control lost taking challenges as long as they received a fair return on investment.) So, in that context, I don’t think “regulatory takings” sticks if you enter a regulated market and the regulation does not lead to a total diminution of value of your regulated asset.

            So, while rent control obviously imposes a limit on profitability over time, I think you have to consider that, from the frame of reference of any particular tenancy, the owner was necessarily getting market rent as of the time of that tenancy. If their ROI is low, they needed to have invested more.

        • Posted by BobN

          auto-detailing service, a meth lab or a night club


          • Posted by DM

            Massage parlor? Brothel? The mind boggles.

          • Posted by alberto rossi

            .auto detailer/meth lab/night club/teriyaki/fried chicken/donut shop combo

        • Posted by James

          So we should never change any laws for any reason? That’s nonsense. Agree that if it was under rent control when she bought it she needed to factor that into the decision on whether to buy – but I see nothing at all wrong with working to change a law you disagree with.

    • Posted by katdip

      Really, you’re calling a reasonable regulation on land use (hotel vs. residential) a “taking”? And let’s be clear that she’s been violating the law on short term rentals for more than 20 years. Hmmm, scofflaw antics justified with libertarian rhetoric – sounds like you should join your fellow travelers up in the OR bird sanctuary…..

    • Posted by Stop Driving

      Folks like Ellis would be much happier in Somalia where pesky laws aren’t a problem. It’s a Libertarian dreamland!

  4. Posted by SFHelmut

    3 nice one bedrooms that would likely bring in $120,000 or more in gross annual rent. If the landlord wanted a hotel, she should have bought one. You buy apartments, rent apartments.

    • Posted by Mark

      When she bought it 23 years ago, it was operating as a B&B. She continued to operate it as short term rentals.

  5. Posted by Wonker

    Whose representing Jennifer with this? I would be nice to get their perspective.

  6. Posted by Dont Rent

    Who in the right mind wants to be a landlord in San Francisco? They are the most demonized people in the city. Be a landlord go to jail.

    • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

      Yes, this poor woman owns a 3-unit place (bought for $680,000 in 1995) that is likely worth ~ $4 million, she pays only $12,000 in property taxes thanks to Prop 13, and she could easily fetch $125,000/year in rents. Who in their right mind would want to be in a situation like that?!?!

      Good for her that she made a great buy at a great time. But I’m certainly not going to feel sorry for her because she is required to use it for a legal purpose.

      • Posted by BayviewSF

        If an illegal immigrant can get free education, free healthcare and free legal services, maybe we should allow illegal airBnB?

        • Posted by Rillion

          If we allow illegal airBnB rentals why not allow illegal squatting? Or do you only favor landlords breaking the law?

  7. Posted by Hitman

    Everyone who is AirBNBing should limit themselves to 90 days and raise their prices to correspond to the reduced supply – that will be awesome!

  8. Posted by hgh

    Still wondering, can anyone explain why the draft of the decision citing testimony in front of the commission which had not happened yet, was already drafted and available on line before the hearing date? Is the Commission just rubber stamping the Planning Departments personal whims now?

  9. Posted by 4th Gen SF'er

    The neighbor, a wealthy actor & activist LW guy snitched constantly on them.

Comments are closed.

Recent Articles