One city supervisor says the political will finally exists to allow
homeowners to bypass the condo-conversion lottery system for a one-time
Supervisor Mark Farrell wants people with tenancy-in-common units to
get a one-time deal to pay up to $20,000 per unit to bypass The City’s
“It’s assisting property owners who need help,” Farrell said.
Similar proposals have gone nowhere at City Hall. Farrell
acknowledged it has been a “third rail,” but he suggested the political
climate has shifted.
“This is a different Board of Supervisors and this is a different time,” Farrell said.
Financing for tenancy-in-common units is difficult and the interest
rates high. Those living in these units share a percentage of a
building’s ownership through group loans or “fractional loans.” Unlike
condos, they do not own the units outright.
Currently, more than 2,500 units are in a lottery system. Each year,
200 units, or about 50 buildings, are allowed to be converted into more
lucrative condos. The lottery is for buildings with three to six units.
Some people have been waiting 10 years to convert.
On Tuesday, Farrell will introduce legislation with co-sponsor Supervisor Scott Wiener following a rally outside City Hall.
Ted Gullicksen, executive director of the San Francisco Tenants
Union, is opposed to bypassing the lottery for a fee. He said it will
only encourage more tenancy-in-common units and lower the rental stock.
And while this would be a one-time chance, he said it could happen again
when conversion demand increases.
If the proposal fails to pass the board, it could end up on the
November ballot. But at this point, Farrell said he is focused on the