I moved to San Francisco at the age of 21 (1976) and found my current studio apartment in Northbeach well BEFORE Pier 39. The rent was $299 plus parking (+$25) and included a free storage unit and gym membership in the building.
There were FREIGHT TRAINS still running down the Embarcadero and the Northpoint Apt. (where I reside) appealed to me because of the adjoining Supermarket, bank, dry cleaners, etc. Mall that Northpoint had built in order to attract tenants into what was then a pretty shady and pretty dangerous neighborhood surrounded by dilapidated piers, a waste storage treatment facility next door and tons of homeless people. Were it not for the Northpoint Mall being right next door I woulds have NEVER ventured out after dark especially but, even during the day, there were homeless people everywhere, ALL day AND there was a DREADFUL public housing project 2 blocks away at the Mason/Bay cable car turn around. Scary!
But... The bldg. had a pool (heated and usable almost ALL YEAR!) Pinkerton guards, a wonderful management that replaced everything you needed incl. drape cleaning and new carper /paint etc. for no charge! They OFFERED to upgrade my unit as they continued to improve the property again for no charge! They offered "guest apt.s for tenants friends and family for $99 per night and guest parking in the garage for $10 per day.The building is in a sunbelt microclimate, and I love to swim so I overlooked the neighborhood in hopes that it would eventually change as the Cannery was just being developed.
Fast forward to 2014. I am now 58 years old and disabled. I have lived in the same studio apt. for what is now 37years. My base rent is now $813 +parking $48). I have 4 free storage units ( now renting for $50 per mo.per unit) and my gym is still free (now $35 per mo. for new tenants) but my social security income is only $677 so even now, being disabled I am living off my savings in order to make rent and food.
The area, after the 89 earthquake, as you know, is now the Nouveaux NorthBeach and with the addition of Pier 39 ONE block away, the Embarcadero freeway gone, the projects demolished and the addition of the F line amongst other improvements is now HIGHLY desirable area and a true neighborhood that is now pretty safe. I grew up here and so did the neighborhood. I loved it in 1976 but I ADORE it now!
However...the management is now THE WORST as is documented for the last 5 years on SEVERAL social media sites, who rarely return calls, charges $15 to come in and replace a SINGLE vanity lightbulb (don't get me started on the rest of the "new" charges and "can't do, don't bother us" attitude), has done away with guards after midnight and has the gaul to charge us $100 NON REFUNDABLE fee for ONE EXTRA key fob to enter the apt. complex. (Everybody got ONE fob free).
The building had marvelous gardens with grass and flowers everywhere. I KNEW I had a GREAT safe and convenient place to live in and would probably live out the rest of my years here as there are NO stairs with a pharmacy and supermarket literally feet from my door.
WELL, my apt now rents for ( if I was a new tenant) approx. $3250, parking is and additional $250 and, as I stated earlier there are now substantial charges for storage and the gym. This I could live with because I was grandfathered in and doesn't effect me.
BUT... the bldg management has now informed us that the courtyard structures are now decaying due to drainage problems, age, and probably residual effects from the 89 earthquake. This I understand. what I DON'T understand is that they are taking out ALL flowers, grass, and community outside areas and replacing them with 4 ft metal boxes which will hold a 4ft tree and cement walls that will butt up against the 2nd floor ( in reality the actual 1st occupant floor because the garage underneath us is the true 1st floor) patios with mini scrubs sparsely planted around the courtyards that once held mature large Elm trees (now gone) and which, among other things buffered the noise and filtered the air from the bus yard directly across the street.
We as remaining tenants have been told that there will no longer be grass or community meeting areas and that they will be replaced with gravel. NO FLOWERS AT ALL will be planted in the courtyards and outdoor seating will be minimal. In other words they are are paving paradise and putting up a parking lot.
I can live with the needed structural renovations, I have no choice as to the landscaping or lack of BUT all this "renovation" will take place for ONE YEAR of jackhammering and backhoe beeping starting at 8AM and ending at 5pm 5 days a week for that time.
We were informed that pexiglas barriers will be erected to protect the ground floor patios from flying debris and that there will be "quiet " apt.s designated on a daily first come first served basis with no mention as to how many of these rooms will be available for a building complex housing more than 200 apt.s.
I have irritant induced asthma and I asked how I was going to cope with all that "debris" for one year let alone the noise as I am home during the day. They said preferences would be given to those with medical issues but that there would be limited quiet apt's available and that they would do their best to accommodate me.
OK, so here's the point (finally!) I will be inconvenienced by noise, by the fact that my parking will now be in the sub garage below the existing one that is only accessible by 2 flights of stairs for 1 year and that they will continue to upgrade vacant units with marble counters and hardwood floors but will NOT clean curtains or do ANY sort of maintenance without a fee of the existing units.
I feel we should have our rent reduced do to all this construction and inconveniences like parking. I am not able to navigate steps easily and my parking will be, as I stated two flights down, where I will have to lug everything out of the car and climb with my hands full!
This renovation will cost several million dollars, the new upgraded units are costing them a fortune to redo and we have, in the past, been given cap pass throughs that have been, at one time in the past, more than $60 a month added to our rent continuously for 5 years.
WHO is going to pay for this construction, HOW will they rent to new tenants with massive construction, demolition and noise with the going rent averaging $3000+ for a studio and parking an additional$250???
I am worried the Ellis act will possibly effect us due to the fact that most of the units will remain vacant for at least one year meaning there will be fewer remaining long term residents to buy out. I mean WHO will want to rent during that year at those prices under those conditions??? I am VERY WORRIED!!!!
Please consider repealing or limiting the Ellis Act to protect tenants like me!!! I am not sure if it applies to bldgs with over 200 units but...with very few remaining tenants left to evict I am worried I could be a casualty!!! I have NO resources to pull from, I am 58 years old, disabled and now will be living in a demolition zone which could endanger my health in addition to my sanity with the horrific daily noise!!
Please protect us from landlords who will, I believe in this case, at the very least pass on this tremendous expense on to rent controlled tenants potentially increasing our rents SUBSTANTIALLY through cap pass throughs for YEARS and face a possible buy out with the Ellis Act.
It's not fair and it's BAD KARMA to take away the peace of mind we have as GOOD tenants over all these years and put us out on the streets as senior citizens!!
PLEASE STOP THE ELLIS ACT and horrible landlord treatment for those of us who looked forward to retiring and remaining in a 37+ year affordable home!!! It's CRIMINAL!!!! IT MUST BE STOPPED!!! Have mercy on the elderly in S.F., it was OUR home FIRST!!!