Fight ensues over SF landlord’s sale of thousands of rent-controlled apartments


  • 184f6 920x920 Fight ensues over SF landlords sale of thousands of rent controlled apartments

    At a press conference on Jan. 27, Supervisor Dean Preston of District 5 and the Housing Rights Committee asked Veritas to delay the sell-off of 76 buildings for 60 days to allow nonprofits and city leaders time to explore purchasing some or all of the properties.

    less

    At a press conference on Jan. 27, Supervisor Dean Preston of District 5 and the Housing Rights Committee asked Veritas to delay the sell-off of 76 buildings for 60 days to allow nonprofits and city leaders time

    … more


    Photo: Twitter: @DeanPreston

  •  Fight ensues over SF landlords sale of thousands of rent controlled apartments

Caption

Close

At a press conference on Jan. 27, Supervisor Dean Preston of District 5 and the Housing Rights Committee asked Veritas to delay the sell-off of 76 buildings for 60 days to allow nonprofits and city leaders time to explore purchasing some or all of the properties.

less

At a press conference on Jan. 27, Supervisor Dean Preston of District 5 and the Housing Rights Committee asked Veritas to delay the sell-off of 76 buildings for 60 days to allow nonprofits and city leaders time

… more



Photo: Twitter: @DeanPreston


One of San Francisco’s biggest landlords, Veritas Investments, is selling 76 residential properties with more than 2,000 units, nearly a third of the company’s local portfolio.

In a city where housing is scarce, the real estate offering is stirring up a conversation around who should buy these buildings, which are all rent-controlled apartments, according to Veritas.

Supervisor Dean Preston and the Housing Rights Committee are asking Veritas to delay the sell-off for 60 days to allow nonprofits and city leaders time to consider purchasing some or all of the buildings. In a city where some 171,000 units are considered rent-controlled, Preston feels the sale could impact the market and availability of affordable housing.

“This is a huge number of rent-controlled units, and being put on the market all at once like this virtually guarantees the buyer will be another massive corporation,” said Preston, who led a press conference on Monday to call attention to the issue. “This isn’t the sale of one or two buildings. This is a sale of a significant chunk of rent-controlled-stock in the city. The big corporate investors who can buy large portfolios like this, their model is a business practice of generating their profits by aggressively raising rents through pass-throughs and trying to vacate units through evictions.”


Veritas has no plans to delay the sale. The company said it already gave nonprofits the opportunity to buy the buildings and alleges a tenant advocacy group committed a “flagrant” breach of confidentiality in the process.

ALSO: Expert notes ‘sharp deceleration’ in San Francisco Bay Area rent prices

San Francisco’s new Community Opportunity to Purchase Act, approved by the Board of Supervisors last year, requires property owners to give qualified nonprofits the first right to purchase properties during a one-month waiting period. Veritas listed the units to nonprofits on Dec. 20, 2019, and gave them first right of refusal until Jan. 18, 2020.

“Three qualified nonprofits came forward and said, ‘We’re interested in these buildings,’” Veritas spokesperson Juliana Bumim said. “Veritas provided all the information … rent, addresses, contact info, confidential private information. At the end of the 30 days, none of the nonprofits made an offer.”

Bumim alleges that during this process, confidential information — tenants’ names, addresses, rent amount and other information — was illegally released by the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco. She said this is “deeply problematic and undermines the whole purpose of honestly coming to the table in good faith to negotiate with nonprofits.”


Sarah Sherburn-Zimmer, the director of the Housing Rights Committee, a tenants rights organization, said Veritas is making misleading claims to intimidate tenants from receiving information on their basic rights. Sherburn-Zimmer told The Chronicle earlier this week that the names were posted to give tenants the opportunity to find out that their buildings were for sale and denied the publication of names was illegal.

“Veritas is upset that their tenants are standing up to their plan of speculation led displacement with our help,” Sherburn-Zimmer wrote in an email. “We will continue to get tenants information they need to fight back to stay in SF.”

Veritas maintains that HRC committed a “flagrant violation” of the Community Opportunity to Purchase Act and undermined the company’s ability to work with Supervisor Preston and the Housing Rights Committee.

“We are open to working with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, which governs the city’s acquisition of affordable housing projects and has always been a strong partner,” said Justin Sato, chief strategy and portfolio officer of Veritas.

The office has an acquisition and preservation program, but “given limits on available funding, it would be difficult for us to fund the purchase of a significant portion of the overall portfolio, though we are currently evaluating what possibilities there may be,” MOHCD said in a statement.

This story was updated at 6 p.m. on Jan. 30, 2019.

Amy Graff is a digital editor with SFGATE. Email her: agraff@sfgate.com.

Article source: https://www.sfgate.com/realestate/article/San-Francisco-mega-landlord-rent-controlled-units-15011597.php

This entry was posted in SF Bay Area News and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.