Board eyes fee in condo conversions

Courtesy PhotoSupervisor Mark Farrell

Courtesy PhotoSupervisor Mark Farrell

One city supervisor says the political will finally exists to allow homeowners to bypass the condo-conversion lottery system for a one-time fee.

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 condo-conversion lottery.

“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 legislative process.

Bay Area NewsCondosGovernment & PoliticsLocalPoliticsSan Francisco Tenants Union

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD Gang Task Force is ‘no more’: Chief reenvisions investigative unit

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

Stores including Walgreens and Safeway are required to pay their employees additional hazard pay under a city ordinance that is currently set to expire later this month. (Shutterstock)
Grocery workers could gain additional weeks of $5 per hour hazard pay

San Francisco will vote next week on whether to extend a law… Continue reading

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays attends an event to honor the San Francisco Giants' 2014 World Series victory on Thursday, June 4, 2015, in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
Willie Mays turns 90: San Francisco celebrates the greatest Giant

By Al Saracevic Examiner staff writer I couldn’t believe it. Willie Mays… Continue reading

Ja’Mari Oliver, center, 11, a fifth grader at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, is surrounded by his classmates at a protest outside the Safeway at Church and Market streets on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 in support of him following an April 26 incident where he was falsely accused by an employee of stealing. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
School community rallies behind Black classmate stopped at Safeway

‘When you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us’

A warning notice sits under the windshield wiper of a recreational vehicle belonging to a homeless man named David as it sits parked on De Wolf Street near Alemany Boulevard on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. A proposed SF Municipal Transportation Agency law would make it illegal for overnight parking on the side street for vehicles taller than seven feet or longer than 22 feet. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA to resume ‘poverty tows’ amid calls to make temporary ban permanent

Fines and fees hurt low-income, homeless residents, but officials say they are a necessary tool

Most Read