San Francisco Landlord Tells Tenants: Make $100K, Have 725 Credit Score

San Francisco Landlord Tells Tenants: Make $100K, Have 725 Credit Score

By ALAN FARNHAM via WORLD NEWS

How tight is San Francisco’s housing market? So tight that the landlord of a rent-controlled apartment building at 312 Fillmore Street has sent a memo to his existing tenants, telling them they must show they have an annual income of at least $100,000 and a FICO credit score of at least 725.

Or else…what? The memo (which describes itself as “informational”) doesn’t say.

When ABC News phoned landlord Robert Shelton to ask, he hung up. When an ABC News reporter knocked on his door, Shelton slammed it in her face.

Local housing and tenants’ rights experts tell ABC News they are in no doubt what such memos are meant to accomplish: They’re supposed to scare the heck out of tenants, on the chance that ones unaware of their rights will vacate.

Landlords want old tenants out so that they charge new ones higher rent, explains Delene Wolf, executive director of the San Francisco Rent Board. She tells ABC News she has specialized in local rent control issues for 30 years. But, she says, “I have never seen rents like this–not even during the dotcom boom. A teeny 1-bedroom can go for $4,000 a month.” The bidding-up of rents she calls a frenzy. The market, she says, “is amazing–but not in a good way.”

Ted Gullicksen, director of the San Francisco Tenants’ Union, tells ABC News the vacancy rate in the city is only about 2 percent now. “Anything under 4 percent is considered a crisis.” When an apartment opens up, it’s not uncommon for 50 to 75 people to show up for the open house, he says, and those aspiring renters bid against one another. The driving engine of the bidding, he says, are the high salaries paid to tech industry workers.

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