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SF State faculty bark over rent increases, eviction

A housing group based at San Francisco State University Thursday condemned the university for allegedly raising rents on employee housing and evicting residents who have retired.

According to SF State Tenants Rights Group, the school announced in September a 34 percent rent increase on employee housing over the next six years. The group says that after inquiring more about the increase, residents found out that university housing is exempt from local city and county regulations such as rent control and minimum-service standards.

In 2005, the university bought two residential properties adjacent to the school for housing for faculty and staff, respectively called University Park South and University Park North.

Between 2005 and 2017, San Francisco State has increased the rent at the maximum allowed rates by the San Francisco Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Board, the tenants rights group said.

But according to the group, the university never explicitly stated that its housing was exempt from local regulations and therefore should take responsibility for misleading the residents to believe that this was a long-term housing option.

Resident and Economics department faculty Michael Bar said in statement:

“When I moved-in in 2005, I received no warning that SF State does not abide by rent controls. … If I had known back then that SFSU housing is not rent controlled, I would have rented at Park Merced. Now market rents on campus are way too high.”

In a letter to residents in October, university officials said the rent increase would go toward exterior painting, light upgrades, part-time patrol staff and other security enhancements, hazardous materials remediation, plumbing replacements, fire alarms and sprinklers, securing fencing and access controls, and window replacement.

The group is also alleging that the university has started to evict resident staff and faculty following their retirement.

Sarah Johnson, retired director of the on campus Associated Students Early Childhood Education Center, moved in in 2014 and was never given any indication that she would have to move out upon retirement, the group said.

Johnson said in a statement:

“I’ve been the director of the AS Early Childhood Education Center for over 26 years, during which time I helped expand and build the state-of-the-art campus childcare facility, wrote grants in excess of $7M to provide childcare stipends for low-income student-parents and worthy wages for teachers and spearheaded a task force to create a BA degree in Child Development at SFSU.”

She added:

“Four months after I retired, a 60-day termination letter arrived in my mailbox! Employment was never mentioned as a condition of my rental agreement, and as a senior citizen, I can’t afford renting at the current market prices.”

San Francisco State University officials were not immediately available for comment.


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