Posts Tagged ‘rent control’

Still Scared

June 3, 2018

But breathing through it.

Crying too.

Sharing about it.

Letting it go.

Reminding myself that it’s not about me, but that, yes, oh yes, I do have rights.

And quite a lot more of them then I had even realized.

I got up early today, I showered, I prayed and read and wrote and drank my coffee and applied for a Grad Plus Student Loan, since the financial aid I was approved of for my PhD program is shy $3,000.

I got approved.

I don’t know how much that will mean, the school will package the loan for me, but I do know that it will be enough.

I feel quite sure of that.

So with my breath stuck somewhere high up in my chest, I left this morning to go to the San Francisco Tenant’s Union on Capp Street.

I got there five minutes before they were open and there were already four other people in line.

However!

Thanks to being proactive, I actually got to go first, since I had filled out the paperwork online, paid the membership fee, printed everything off and handed it over to the counselor.

“I’ll see you first,” he said and asked me what I needed to know.

I told him about my situation and I got back some straight quick answers.

The notice to leave the in-law is in fact, as I suspected, not legal.

It has to be in writing and it has to be for just cause, like I haven’t been paying rent, or I have trashed the place, or I’m doing something illegal.

No meth lab here.

Just me and my notebooks quietly coexisting next to the garage.

I explained that I didn’t have a signed lease.

“Doesn’t matter, she still has to give you a written notice, she still has to have just cause, and the reasons she’s given are not legally binding,” he continued.

I was relieved and also panicked.

“What do I do now?” I asked.

“Nothing, you stay put, you pay your next month’s rent,” he continued, “you don’t have to move out, just keep paying your rent and lay low.”

Ugh.

That sounds horrible, but doable.

I just hate the idea of living somewhere that I am not wanted.

And I realize that’s also a sort of victim attitude or perhaps a martyr attitude.

Neither of which are very sexy in my opinion.

I asked about relocation money and he said I wasn’t to that stage yet, but that I could get there.

I said what if she raised the rent?

He said, and my jaw dropped, “you have rent control, there is only so much she can raise it, has she raised it since you moved in?”

I said yes, told him the amount, and he said, “that’s too much, here’s the percentage that she’s allowed to raise it, you could sue for back overpaid rent retroactive three years.”

Holy shit.

I had no idea about that.

I chatted with my best friend about it, I’m a bit stupid with math, I’ll write you a Shakespearean sonnet in ten minutes, but maths, bah, numerological dyslexia strikes again, and asked what the raise would have been and figured out that it was raised $30 too high.

I mean it’s not a ton over, but I could reasonably say that another raise in rent is out of the question with that knowledge.

What I basically was told was you don’t have to move, you don’t need to move, make her do the work and get everything in writing.

It feels really big and scary and unpleasant.

I suspect though, that it will be a couple of uncomfortable conversations.

She’s not going to hurt me, she’s not going to change the locks on the house, I really actually can’t see that happening.

It will be uncomfortable conversations, and though I’m not happy about that, I can have them and knowing what my rights are really feels good.

Especially just knowing that I have more time to find a place.

I still intend on moving out, it doesn’t seem like this is a good home for me, it’s been what I needed for this phase of my development, but it is time to move on.

I think what the counselor gave me, though, is time.

Time to find the right situation, time to make sure that I am not desperately clawing at unreasonable housing situations, rent that I can’t afford, or room mates that I’m not really compatible with.

I sense that having the awareness that I don’t actually have to more out in 90 days will help me be more expansive.

I hope anyway.

I am still scared and uncomfortable and the crap its stirring up is big, but I am also a capable adult able to have conversations and find solutions.

I can take this to a mediator if necessary.

Though I suspect that it won’t need to go that far.

I think a buy out is reasonable, especially in this market.

This market is crazy, it still stuns me at times, but I have lived here for almost sixteen years, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

This is home, not necessarily this little in-law, but San Francisco.

So tonight I will practice invisioning what I want.

I will imagine a big room, hard wood floors, living in a house where I probably have roommates, but I also have access to an entire house, I imagine space and sunlight.

Laundry.

Parking.

It can happen.

I know it.

I just do.

I know it’s out there and I’m ready to embrace the next thing.

I really am.

I can be scared and I can still do this.

“Men of faith have courage.”

Courage is not the absence of fear.

It is walking through the fear, it is doing the actions needed despite the fear.

I am brave.

I will walk through this.

Into the bright sunight of a brand new home.

I just will.

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90 Days

May 28, 2018

A lot can happen in 90 days.

This is what I tell myself.

A lot can actually happen in a few hours, in a few minutes, in an unexpected conversation with ones landlady.

Oh my God.

I have been asked to move.

I don’t know exactly what to do yet, or whom to share this information with.

I will admit I had an impulse to post up all over social media, but I restrained myself.

I think I was in shock.

I still am a bit, truth be told.

Yesterday though, I was definitely in shock, disbelief, horror, I was freaked out, I cried in supervision when I had to do my check in, I probably should not have been riding my scooter, but in a way it might have been the best thing since I had to focus fiercely on the road for a half hour.

I rode my scooter into supervision yesterday because of the huge Carnival festival that happens in the Mission every year Memorial Day weekend.

It’s a gigantic party and it’s a huge, huge, huge parade.

Where my internship is located at was a designated area of the Mission that was to be part of the route and there was no parking anywhere to be had, I knew this ahead of time and planned on taking my scooter.

I had no idea I would be riding to my group supervision with the information I had just gotten.

I had been actually excited to go to supervision, see the therapists who have watched me over this past year as I have grown comfortable with becoming a therapist and seeing clients there, and share with them the achievement of having graduated.

All that, however, was eclipsed by the bombshell my landlady dropped on me.

She told me she wanted me to move out.

That she had been planning on talking to me about it for a few weeks, but didn’t want to “spoil” my graduation weekend and stress me out.

Thanks.

You stressed me out anyway.

I find it really interesting that I had decided to pay my rent a week and a half early for next month too, I usually do pay early, by at least a few days, but something compelled me to do it earlier than usual and I believe I may have sensed something in the air.

A few weeks ago my landlady had the property inspected as she was planning on doing a re-financing of the house, “I’ll finally get that window in the studio,” is what I thought.

That, apparently was not what she thought.

Oh, there’s going to be a window, but it’s not for me.

She told me that she was originally going to give me thirty days, then I had paid rent for this upcoming month, like I said, I like to pay it in advance, and since it might take me a little while to find a place that she thought she’d give me 60, no, 90 days to move out.

That now that I was done with school, I got into a PhD program you rotten whore, oops, did I say that? She was happy to have “helped” support me through the Masters program by letting me live here.

Helped?

I have helped you lady pants, like, I pay the rent.

I pay utilities.

I am a model tenant.

I pay rent in advance.

I have ever since I moved in.

I take the trash out, I keep my studio clean, clean, clean.

I am sober, no partying down in my little den.

I don’t smoke.

I am a fucking full-time nanny who has a part-time internship and I, until recently, also attended grad school full time.

Meaning.

I’m not around all that fucking much.

Who could ask for a better fucking tenant?

Oh.

And I don’t have any pets and I don’t complain about the dog that you got a year ago that barks and whines and cries and then gets yelled at for barking and whining and crying.

I don’t know what is worse.

The barking or the yelling at the dog to stop barking.

Considering the year of great noise I should get a goddamn discount of the rent.

Ugh.

Anyway.

I took in what she was saying and let her do the talking, I was in shock and also trying really hard to smile and nod and not say anything to just listen, to absorb information.

I was also in my scooter jacket about to get on my scooter and go ride across town to my internship, I couldn’t process what was happening.

Which was probably a good thing, I didn’t get argumentative, I didn’t freak out on her.

I did find a silent, hot core of anger later, but more about that at another time.

She explained that she’d gotten her re-financement and was going to be doing a major remodel on her house, ripping out the kitchen and the bathroom in her unit, putting in a deck, building another in-law in the back yard, pulling out the kitchen in my unit and making it a one bedroom with a bath (and maybe a hot plate), and that she needed me to move out so that she could move into my unit while the remodel was being done on her unit.

I quietly congratulated her on the refinance and asked again about the move out date, September 1st, the 15th at the latest, she needed to know as soon as possible when I was going to move out so that she could get all of her contractors lined up and ready to go.

Oh.

Ok.

Glad to hear that you need me to hustle.

Good information.

I’m only deep diving into the most expensive city to live in for rentals in the United States with a dearth of options, where closets get rented as studios, and people curtain off living rooms for extra bedrooms, where adults live in dorms with shared bathrooms and communal spaces that are marketed towards tech kids in the FiDi and Mission districts.

Sure.

No problem.

Let me get right on that.

I decided to cry instead when I got to supervision.

Oh!

And hey, she also noted, you can pay your last months rent from your deposit if that helps you consolidate your cash to get into a new place.

Hmmm.

Thanks.

I think.

Don’t you owe me the deposit back with interest, isn’t that what you told me when I moved in, “I’ll be putting this in an account that will gather interest and I’ll give you the deposit plus the interest when you move out, just make sure you give me a 30 day notice.”

See.

This is where it gets tricky for me.

I never signed a lease.

I live in an illegal in-law unit.

It has a kitchen with a full size working gas range and a full size refrigerator, but no window and no ventilation.

I cook and open up the back door to ventilate.

I am also pretty damn certain that she didn’t pull permits to do the work on the in-law when it was remodeled, but I’m not 100% certain.

What I am certain of, however, is that in her nice, sweet, off-handed way she was manipulating me into thinking I was getting a deal and that she was being kind to me.

Oh, and you don’t have to pay for July’s rent either.

And while that’s a lovely offer, I think that you, madam, are not within your rights to push me out, at least not without a written notice, or some sort of compensation.

So.

I got myself onto the San Francisco Tenants Union webpage.

They have open drop in hours and I will be going to get myself some counseling to see what my rights are.

I may not have a signed contract, I may not have a lease, but I had a verbal agreement and over four and a half years of cashed checks with “June rent and utilities” written into the memo.

I have a paper trail.

And I know I have rights.

I just don’t know exactly what they are.

But I will.

And when I do.

Watch out.

I am mad and I am not going to be manipulated into rolling over.

I am going to move.

That is going to happen.

But I am going to do it in a way that advocates for my rights.

I am not going to get pushed out.

So.

Yeah.

If you hear of anything for rent in San Francisco.

Not Berkeley or Oakland or in the East Bay or over in Marin.

IN SAN FRANCISCO.

Do me a favor and let me know.

Thanks!

 

 


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