SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Tenants at a rent-controlled apartment building in San Francisco’s Lower-Haight neighborhood say they’ve received notice from their landlord that they need to prove an annual income of $100,000 in addition to a high credit score.
The notice was slipped under Zoe McFee’s door at 312 Fillmore Street. McFee said this isn’t the first time landlord, Robert Shelton, has sent tenants a letter like this. The last one said they had to earn $70,000 a year.
Tenants and their advocates are outraged, claiming the notice is unrealistic and illegal. The letter was slipped under the door of every unit at the building near Fillmore and Haight Street and is dated April 25th. In addition to the six-figure annual-income requirement, the letter explains another of the building’s new policies requiring a FICO credit score of at least 725.
McFee said she’s paying a bargain rate for her one bedroom where she’s lived for 22 years.
Tommi Avicolli Mecca from San Francisco’s Housing Rights Committee said it’s simply not legal to make current tenants meet such requirements.
“If the building’s under rent control, which I assume it is, they can’t do it. They can’t post-screen people. You can’t turn around and say ‘Oh, well you have to have a certain income level now’” Mecca said.
Landlords can, however, use credit checks and income screenings for potential tenants in advance of them signing a lease or renting property. The renters involved in this case wondered if it’s a form of intimidation to persuade lower-income tenants to move out.
KCBS has confirmed the letters are from Shelton, but he declined to comment on them, or what tenants claim is their long-running dispute with him.
UPDATE: While Shelton would still not return our calls, he sent the tenants a new letter late Tuesday that read the following:
“After reflection and guidance, I hereby rescind the correspondence. The information contained was flawed. My apologies for the confusion created.”