SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 11-0 to approve legislation that rolls back rent hikes imposed in 2014 for those living in the Midtown Park Apartments.
Residents filed the lawsuit against the city and property manager Mercy Housing after elderly tenants on fixed incomes received rent increases of up to 300 percent. Some tenants refused to pay the increase. The city has argued it owes money back to any tenant who paid the rent increases.
The increase sparked a 5-month rent strike, the second largest in San Francisco history since 1978.
Tenants will now have a choice to keep their rent at 30 percent of their income or go back to the pre-2014 levels.
Midtown Park Apartments controversial history dates back to the 1960s. The city’s failed redevelopment policies displaced thousands of families and businesses that never returned.
The redevelopment started with the Housing Act of 1949 signed by President Harry Truman. The intended purpose was to clear slums and re-image cities more comprehensively.
Tenants were told by city officials and a series of private property managers they would have the opportunity to own their units, but their rents were subject to the city’s rent control laws.
Mercy Housing, a national Catholic affordable housing non-profit, became the property manager and project developer. Instead of a rent control model, tenants would be required to prove their income and pay 30 percent in rent. Tenants took their grievances to Mercy Housing’s management of Midtown, but did not seen any changes.
In 2019, Mercy Housing stepped down from its role at Midtown Park Apartments. Tenants are planning to work on a path to ownership that as promised to families decades ago.