San Francisco tenants get 6-figure buyout to leave luxe unit

San Francisco tenants get 6-figure buyout to leave luxe unit

SeattlePI.com

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A wealthy San Francisco couple notched a record nearly half-million-dollar buyout to vacate their luxury apartment of three decades, underscoring the lengths some landlords will go to to get rid of long-term tenants in a city with strict rent control and soaring market rents.

The $475,000 voluntary buyout is considered to be the largest in city history and reflects the high-value of the apartment. The tenants, a couple in their 60s with teenage children, had been paying $12,500 a month recently for a seven-bed, eight-bath apartment. It takes up most of a floor in a century-old building with expansive views of the bay, Golden Gate Bridge and nearby Presidio park. They declined to be named.

San Francisco has among the strongest tenant protections in the country, which encourages tenants to hang on to apartments as market prices go up. While California has recently adopted rent control and other tenant protections, San Francisco approved its rent control ordinance back in 1979 as a way to alleviate the city's housing crisis.

That means landlords can only raise rent on some properties a certain amount each year, with the current increase pegged at under 1%. Landlords cannot evict tenants without just cause, such as nonpayment of rent. Owners who want to move into their own single-family home must pay tenants to vacate. The maximum amount tenants in one unit can receive to relocate is $22,000, with an extra $5,000 for households with minor children or seniors 60 and up.

In this case, relocation costs did not apply; the landlord and renters reached a voluntary agreement for them to leave.

Steven Adair MacDonald, the lawyer who represents the couple, said reaction has been divided to a six-figure buyout that's enough to purchase a home in most parts of...

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