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Friday, October 22, 2021

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News + PoliticsVideo seeks to sell 'fabulous' units cleared by eviction

Video seeks to sell ‘fabulous’ units cleared by eviction

Building where 98-year-old faced Ellis Act eviction is now on the market -- as "fabulous" fully renovated condos -- in a video that shows the importance of checking the history of any property you buy, rent, or promote

The first lesson in San Francisco real estate these days is: Know your history.

Before you rent, buy, promote, or otherwise get involved in a residential unit, tenant activists say, it’s critical to check and make sure that you aren’t taking someone else’s home — that you aren’t moving into a place that’s been cleared through an Ellis Act or illegal Owner Move-In eviction.

That’s not hard to do — the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project has an easy way to search an address and find out if there’s been an eviction. 

A case in point:

A real estate agent is using a video featuring drag queen Carnie Asada to promote the sale of high-end condos on Dolores St — in a building where a 98-year-old woman faced eviction and several others were displaced.

A real estate speculator working with the notorious serial evictors Urban Green first tossed out a family with a baby (two restaurant workers), an SF General Hospital nurse, a Balboa High School teacher and a special education teacher.

Then they set their sights on Mary Phillips, who resisted and fought for two years to keep her home. She ultimately died at 100, which allowed the speculators to clear out the entire place, renovate it to look fabulous, and put it on the market. 

Now Erin Thompson, the real estate agent is using a campy video hyping the fully renovated units, with Carnie Asada describing them as “Casa de Dolores” and talking about “what’s fabulous” about the place.


55 Dolores Street, San Francisco | Erin Thompson, Compass Real Estate from Circle Visions on Vimeo.

Carnie drinks a martini, then a bottle of champagne as she describes the condos, which are not priced on any listing yet but will sell for way more than $1 million each.

But there’s another side to the glamorous video, and you can see it here:

55 Dolores Street, San Francisco – Erin Thompson, Compass Real Estate from Circle Visions on Vimeo.

I spoke to Carnie by email, and she said she had “no idea” about the background of the evictions. She is horrified by the whole thing, and promised to ask the real estate company to take it down.

“I was hired not by the owner but by the real estate agent for a project we thought people would enjoy,” Carnie Asada said.

I understand how this can happen — you’re trying to make a living, and you do funny videos for real-estate sales reps, and you don’t check on the background of the buildings. 

But with the eviction epidemic, every property that isn’t brand new has a history, and that history might come back to haunt you. One way to slow evictions is to take the profit out — and if nobody will buy or rent an Ellised building, tenants lives will be saved.



Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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  1. Actually, the city is partially responsible by the moratorium on condominiums they put in place in 2010. The unintended consequence of the moratorium made buying 4 unit building and converting them into TICs via the Ellis Act. You can place a moratorium on condo conversions but that still doesn't eliminate the need for people to want to buy a home. Buying a TIC was the least expensive way for people to get into a buying their own home. If you look at the Anti Eviction Project website…there's a reason there was a spike in Ellis Act evictions starting in 2011.

  2. also can anyone confirm what a couple people have whispered to me? Did Carnie used to work for AirBNB?

  3. Rule 1: Tolerate no dissent. This isn't Jonestown, even if the mentality from those days persists….nor is it a private club. Love (or like it) or leave it? So emblamatic of the tolerance found in today's SF.

    Do you think this City is run well? Is there any room for improvement? Why such thin skin on public issues, no wonder nothing changes.

  4. Why? Maybe she should be aware of what is happening. Just goes to show how out of touch some people really are. Even I sitting here on the east coast know all about the problems folks are facing in SF. She doesn't even know her backyard.

  5. It's working out quite well for the 100k+ who live in rent controlled units. As I wrote above, all units should be under rent control.

  6. It almost never happens because there is no incentive for it to happen – in fact, there are penalties. IF one prices a unit at 'full market value', 'half-market value' or somewhere in between, the same onerous regs n rules apply. Under those circumstances, and with only one shot at setting the rate (possibly for decades!), why not just 'go for the max'?

    Does that sound like a formula for decreased rents?

    And as far as "b)" — houze that workin' out?

  7. you've forgotten the City's 'dispensaries' and how they contribute to such a wonderful imagination.

  8. How's that working out? This city's housing authority was taken over by the Feds and was riddled with nepotism and incompetence; the city purchased a lot once housing an old gas station at 490 South Van Ness, putting $16 million of pure profit into the property developers hands; the lot still sits empty years later; not a single unit of housing exists there, affordable or otherwise.

    If this city can barely operate Muni, fix potholes, make a dent in the homeless issue – all the whole spending over $1 million per hour – what exactly is the expectation of 100% affordable housing because "we want brand new 100% affordable buildings"?

  9. reality..
    Just try to understand that. At some point it is not worth keeping the investment, it becomes a liability, owner Ellises the property, it is sold as tenancy in common, some people lose their rental housing, some get their own housing. Why do you think Ellis Act evictions are on the rise?
    This is what is happening right now, give it 20-30 more years.

  10. I am one of those people. Three families, long-term friends. Our loan will be paid off in December. TICs DO in fact help regular people buy homes. We did it in 1997. But even today it is a valuable tool, IMHO.

  11. And, like Paris, they indentured ones will be living in the drab banlieu, meaning Antioch and beyond, commuting into SF to make the beds, serve the food to the richFolks/tourists, who will be enthralled by the city's splendor (Eiffel Tower, Golden Gate Bridge, etc.) and will go home and say "What a gorgeous city that was!"

  12. Or move into all the apts with rooms that don't have roommates in them?

    There's plenty of them around town and the rent is CHEAP!

  13. Don – you are under the old fashioned notion that some poor hapless sucker of a property owner should be forced to subsidize a lucky tenant in perpetuity. Eventually that lucky tenant grows old (though their rent rarely increases). But they never grow up.

    Voila – the City is relieved of the responsibility of providing for the indigents and other citizens it has curated and cultivated these long years. In fact, it gets to demonize private citizens and curry attention and favor from the voters they have pandered to for years.

    Its a system that works pretty well for a time (like bringing a frog to a boil); but eventually it runs into its own contradictions, and that's when things get ugly.

  14. Nope, don't oppose NEW housing, I love new affordable housing. For the people who need it the most. For people who used to be housed in SF and have been displaced, which is a good deal of the homeless population.

    Maybe "rent", "landlords" and "private property" have been an abject failure. Maybe the country slashing the HUD budget by billions has been an abject failure. Maybe the fact that the majority of housing being built in the US is "luxury" housing is an abject failure.

  15. You didn't answer my question. If the 'market rent' is, say $1000, and a landlord 'asks', say, $500 (or $700, or $900); that is a below-market rent, wouldn't you say (all other things being equal, of course)?

    So why should that rental unit be subject to all the rules & regs the City imposes?

    BTW, I've wondered for a long time why the name of the law hasn't been changed from "Rent Stabilization Act" to the "Control the Rent" Act, or maybe "Landlord Lease Law". Maybe you have a better answer for that than your last one.

  16. the future also includes those on the opposite side of the spectrum, indentured servants working at minimum wage or below, and no middle class.

  17. "If speculators don't build, then we find another way."

    how's that working out for our city? Right now, at the top of the market, the City is looking to buy a McDonalds at Haight & Stanyan….and then do what?

  18. The good thing is more opportunities to become an owner. Owner occupied neighborhoods are generally better and the City gains. Also, owners can't be evicted. That is a good thing.

    I believe elderly renters have more time to find alternatives if they are evicted. And I think indigent elderly have agencies that will help them. I am not sure how one prevents evictions or if that would be a good policy.

  19. So a speculator buys a rundown apartment at bargain prices. Evicts the elderly tenants, flips it as TICs for over a million dollars and you are saying that is a good thing? Speculation hurts buyers too who pay too much for existing housing stock. The only winners are the soulless speculators; the city as a whole loses.

  20. That should make ownership opportunities for the midden-class which is a good thing. I knew people who would otherwise could not afford a home got into the housing market with a TIC. They have since traded up.

  21. What eviction epidemic? There are not that many Ellis evictions. Too bad. More owner occupied opportunities the better. Increasing the supply is a good thing.

  22. A gay man shilling for out of town investors. Not surprising from a drag queen that supported Scott Wiener.

  23. You say this to distract from the fact that the YIMBY proposed "solution" is absurd and destructive. You want to build 100% market rate (Yeah, you say you are for "all" housing, but you also oppose regulations, including affordability requirements.) Even your own people can't say how much supply and demand would bring down costs, and estimate that this would take at least a couple of decades. The only potential beneficiaries to this scheme are the speculators.

    If speculators don't build, then we find another way. But as long as they have their way, there is no room to come up with real solutions and things just get worse for middle and low income people.

  24. Unfortunately, this is the future of San Francisco. A bunch of rich people with pied-a-terre. Just like Paris. A city that was once of artisans/workers, later artists…and now RICH FOLKS.
    A gentrifying and boring-ifying city.

  25. She's already been paid. I've done similar work and you're paid usually the same week it's filmed. Then it goes to editing and post production where they add the music and stuff. For a 5 minutes video, she was probably on set for like 6 hours. That check's already been cashed. She's all good if they take it down.

  26. blah blah blah More screaming into the internet rather than actually doing something about it. How is that sheet cake tasting?

  27. 'Asking rent' is up to the landlord. There are no laws in SF that regulate rents on any vacant units.

  28. … so you oppose new housing, even when you have no legal right or available funding to make it 100% affordable.

    This is why San Francisco leftists are often called NIMBYs and blamed for perpetuating the housing affordability crisis. As the abject failure of the Mission Moratorium showed, history and public sentiment are not on your side.

  29. An important distinction. The greed is exploiting those suckers who will pay stupid money for this place… see, they dont care about you rich fukrs either!

  30. Jeez, you'd think she would have learned something from that disaster of an election video she did for Scott Wiener.

  31. This is NOT a condo. It is a TIC and the owners will have a pretty hard time converting to condos if the moratorium is ever lifted. Real estate agents are suppose to disclose the restrictions due to the Ellis history to potential buyers. Erin didn't do a very good job, but she probably doesn't even know the difference…

  32. As long as we have unreasonable rent regulations there will be evictions, you can't eat your cake and have it too. Rent control is an attempt to get the benefits of homeownership without responsibilities. Renting is temporary, eventually every building will be Ellised because once owners can't make profit they will decide to cash out and that their only way to exist. This doesn't need your anger, this needs to be understood, nobody is going to subsidise your housing forever.

  33. > But with the eviction epidemic, every property that isn’t brand new has a
    history, and that history might come back to haunt you.

    Makes you wonder why people who are concerned about evictions oppose brand new buildings so much.

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