According to this post on Hoodline.com, tenants in a rent-controlled building in San Francisco’s Lower Haight district received the above letter reminding them that “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 — additionally required is a minimum FICO credit score of 725.”
The note also explains that it doesn’t take into account co-signors or any other form of third-party guarantor, presumably to keep away tenants with no job but wealthy parents or benefactors.
According to the tenant who tipped off Hoodline, the landlord might be trying to “make life hard on a few people that have been fighting building management.”
It’s legal to use income and credit requirements to screen a potential tenant, but the head of San Francisco’s non-profit Housing Rights Committee tells SFGate.com that you can’t simply re-screen existing tenants.
“They certainly cannot evict anyone if they do not meet their income requirements,” she explains. “It definitely reads like a harassment tactic to me, banking on the tenants not knowing their rights and self-evicting… It just seem so over the top — even most residents would understand it is illegal.”
Harassment and forced turnover is nothing new for tenants in rent-controlled buildings in places like San Francisco or New York City. Landlords are limited in how much they can increase existing tenants’ rents, so the only way they can make more money is to drive out those current residents and get in newer renters at a higher rate.
While both of these cities do have plenty of people earning six figures and with good credit, both the stats cited in the letter are higher than the medians for San Francisco.