What is the Small Sites Program?
Small Sites is a program from the City of San Francisco. The aim is to acquire buildings where long-term, vulnerable tenants may be evicted. Tenants are evicted through the Ellis Act, an owner move-in or other means, so that the landlord can make more money from selling the building.
What properties can we buy as Small Sites?
- The official City program guidelines are for five-unit to 25-unit buildings.
- The nonprofit agencies of the Mission Economic Development Agency (MEDA) and the San Francisco Community Land Trust (SFCLT) are willing to purchase two-unit to 50-unit buildings.
- MEDA is looking in the Mission District and can purchase buildings with commercial spaces.
How does the Small Sites Program work?
- MEDA and SFCLT buy the properties and keep the current tenants, as long as the tenants are in good standing with the existing leases.
- The average tenant’s income for the building needs to be under 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). For example, a three-person household must make under $73,350 in annual income.
- Tenants are part of the purchase, so the tenants help ward off would-be speculators by showing that they will fight to stay. (“We are not going anywhere” signs in the windows and direct action during open houses.)
- City program will provide a $250,000 subsidy per unit; that amount will be combined with a traditional mortgage loan to purchase the building.
For what are we looking in a possible Small Sites purchase?
- Buildings about to go on the market or on the market right now.
- Buildings with existing tenants, of which a number are low- to moderate-income households.
- Buildings in the Mission or Mission adjacent.
What do tenants in possible Small Sites purchases need to do?
- Tenants need to agree that the nonprofit(s) would be the new landlord(s).
- Tenants must provide information about income.
- Tenants Must give us inside knowledge about the condition of the building and the landlord history.
- Tenants advocate with owner for the nonprofit offer to be considered instead of a speculator’s offer.
What we would love to make the Small Sites Program truly work?
- Tenants who know their housing rights.
- Tenants who are fighting to stay in the building.
- To make the offer competitive, tenants might be part of the purchase.
- Tenants advocate with MEDA and SFCLT for more funds from City to purchase other buildings where tenants are at risk of eviction.
If you are a vulnerable tenant interested in having MEDA possibly buy your apartment’s property, please contact Johnny Oliver: (415) 282-3334 ext. 123; firstname.lastname@example.org.