Rent control sometimes benefiting the rich

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Tuesday Jun 26, 2012 7:21 AM PT

Well-to-do people are taking advantage of the city’s long-protected practice of limiting rent increases to preserve affordable housing by using their cheap apartments as weekend getaways.

Attorney Andrew Zacks represents landlords who work with the city to push out these cheaters. He says these tenants are cynically playing the system.

“You have this class of very rich, elite people benefiting from rent control,” he said. “They have a good deal on a $500 or $800 place on Nob Hill and they use it as a pied-a-terre when they come into the city.”

Delene Wolf, executive director of the San Francisco Rent Board, is still fuming over a group from the South Bay that formed its own little housing cooperative.

“It drove me nuts,” she said. “It was four doctors and their wives. They traded off on the weekends and used it to go to the Symphony.”

Their co-op was disbanded after a 2001 law was passed that allows landlords to file a petition giving them the right to attempt to prove that the tenant is not a full-time resident.

Wolf feels the law is working and points to a decline in the number of cases heard. The first year there were 93, and the last couple of years it has averaged below 20. Continue reading