SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Big changes are in store for people living in an apartment building in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District as their landlord uses a legal loophole that could force many tenants out of their homes.
The area is considered among the last San Francisco neighborhoods with semi-affordable rents.
Mauro Tumbocon has been living at 285 Turk Street in the Tenderloin for 11 years. He thought he was living in a building with rent control, because he’s paid roughly $1,100 dollars a month the entire time.
“We were treated like a rent control building,” said Tumocon.
At least, that was the case until 2015 when Mosser Companies took over the building and threatened to increase rent by 70 percent by this October 1st. Tumocon and his low-income neighbors will no longer be able to afford their rooms in the building.
“It’s inhumane,” said Tumbocon.
San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim says what Mosser Companies is doing is technically legal. The owner of the building is also on the rent control board and found a legal loophole that allows him to increase rent dramatically.
“This is one of the last working-class neighborhoods in San Francisco and we’re doing everything we can to maintain that,” said Kim.
Documents show that renovations were made to this building in the 1980s, making it exempt from rent control. Mosser Companies did not respond to KPIX 5’s request for comment.
“There’s certainly a veneer in optics of how this doesn’t look good for a landlord on the rent board to do these dramatic rent increases on working-class families,” said Kim.
Apparently the threat of the impending rent hike alone has been enough to drive some tenants out.
“Already people have started to move out without fighting for it,” said Tumbocon.
Recently evacuated units have been redone and are being advertised online from $1,995 to $2,295.
“Even though they have legal standing, it’s immoral and unethical,” said Tumbocon.
He and his neighbors are running out of options. Those who remain are hoping Mosser will reconsider before the increase kicks in and forces these low-income families out.