Our former Mayor Gavin Newsom has previously suggested allowing everyone eligible for the condominium conversion lottery to pay an upfront fee to bypass the lottery and convert their properties to condominiums. Strongly opposed by the tenant advocates in San Francisco, the idea never really went very far. Our current interim Mayor, Ed Lee was recently heard suggesting the same idea, although he wants to take the discussion out of the soon-to-start budget talks to perhaps tone some of the rhetoric down. From SF Gate:
Mayor Ed Lee is looking to revive the politically charged issue of a condominium conversion fee, but he’s not going to do it as part of budget talks that start Wednesday.
Mayor Ed Lee is taking up a poltical hot potato in the condo conversion fee.
Creating a one-time exception to allow property owners to bypass the city lottery by paying a fee to convert tenancies-in-common into condominiums is something his predecessor, now-Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, proposed multiple times. Tenant advocates bitterly opposed it, and it went nowhere.
Last year, the condo conversion option was projected to raise $8 million if passed. Plenty of first time home-owners have been calling for it, but tenant’s rights groups say it would trigger a rash of evictions.
Lee, who got his start in public life as a tenant advocate, said he wants to include provisions designed to prevent renter evictions and revisit the idea outside the prism of trying to balance the budget.