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Make $100,000 a year or get out

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A landlord reportedly gave tenants in a Lower Haight building a shock last month by telling them they have to make $100,000 a year to live there — and that they better be ready to prove it.

The owner of the rent-controlled building near Haight and Fillmore streets wasn’t identified by Hoodline, the San Francisco neighborhood blog that first posted the note, but the episode underscored the tension over rising rents in San Francisco and raised the basic question over whether a landlord can impose a salary baseline on current tenants.

“The building policy/requirement of a current apartment applicant/resident is that they are able to establish that their minimum annual income is at least $100,000,” the landlord wrote, according to a picture provided to Hoodline.

But Sara Shortt, head of San Francisco’s nonprofit Housing Rights Committee, said landlords can’t “re-screen applicants,” adding that she was “appalled” by the letter.

“They certainly cannot evict anyone if they do not meet their income requirements,” Shortt said. “It definitely reads like a harassment tactic to me, banking on the tenants not knowing their rights and self-evicting,” allowing the owner to move in a higher-paying tenant.

“It just seem so over the top — even most residents would understand it is illegal,” Shortt said.

The anonymous tipster who sent Hoodline the image couldn’t say what prompted the note, but he or she speculated that it had something to do with an ongoing battle between landlords and tenants.

By the way, the median income in San Francisco in 2010 was $73,802, according to Census data.



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