Also a longtime lurker. I have owned 6 homes in my life, in every imaginable market with interest rates from 18% to 4.75%. In different cities, seen up and down markets, lost money and made money. Marin county native, back when the policeman, the teacher, the mailman lived on your same block and we rode bikes to school...not in the back of a 60K SUV with a movie playing! My last 2 homes where in the East Bay, sold one in 2001, bought another and sold in 2005 pretty near the height of the bubble. Got out...I now live in Colombia South America. The US is crazy and so is the Bay Area economy. The average person does not make enough to afford a shit-box house, and who wants to? Yes, sometimes I miss it but to work only to pay 50% of your salary to a structure and never have a vacation is not a lifestyle. Here, my husband and I have a business doing tours and paragliding. We have health insurance better than in US for both of us where the premiums are equivalent to $600 USD/year. Oh yeah, and dental care is fantastic...I have orthodontia and an aesthetic plan to redo everything in my mouth (I am 50 this year)...for about $800 USD. See, here orthodontists donÂ´t live in Mcmansions and drive BMWS. US quote was $15,000 to $20,000 for the same work. We live in a paradise (it is rustic and I hang my clothes out to dry) but our rent is 400,000 pesos (about $180 USD month). There are better lifestyles to be had, and while the SF Bay Area is "special"...it isnÂ´t all that special if you must be a slave. My prediction (ex bond and stock trader talking)...The numbers do not lie. An economy cannot continue with only the rich living in an area and the necessary workers...teachers, gardeners, police, waiters, busboys,firemen, nurses, having to live 2 hours away by car. Who will work in those nice restaurants? And when the generation that is 70-80 years old or older is dying and those children inheriting estates need to sell the parental homes to divvy things up, what happens? Those kids, and their kids, cannot afford to pay the prices for these BA homes. There will be many sales from this and from foreclosures on recent bad loans. Look for it to be like Japan...10 years or more of real estate deflation. The wages do not justify the real estate prices.
Another issue on any immigration bill....lets revoke birthright citizenship. Why should people break the law by illegally entering the US, use the emergency room to deliver their baby (usually at someone else"s expense), and then be allowed to declare that new baby a "citizen"...entitled to all the protections and liberties of our constitution, and by the way, use of some taxpayer entitlements as well. Until we change that, they will keep streaming across the borders. We are one of the few countries left that allows this. We need to reinterpret the 14th amendment.
"as wealth disparity approaches Third-world levels (What good is it to be â€œmiddle classâ€ or wealthy, if it means having to live in a heavily fortified compound that you cannot leave without bringing along a small private army to protect you, a-la Mexico or Colombia?). "
I find it interesting that you mention Colombia. I live there. What do you really know about it? I don't need a small private army, and I find people co-existing quite well. Yes, there are people begging in the streets sometimes. Much less than what I see in San Francisco, I might add. One thing in the Bay Area is that it has become a place where the upper class and wealthy live, leaving their gated compounds during the day and in come the workers who keep their children, their lawns, their houses, serve them their meals in restaurants and fast food chains, bus the tables, paint , remodel, etc....and return home to ...Modesto? How will these Bay Area residents keep employees in the supermarkets that serve them, teachers in their schools, firemen and police and postal workers in their communities if these essential workers can't afford to live within the communities where they work? Believe it or not, I grew up in Marin county back when the post office guy lived around the corner from me with his 5 kids, so did the cop, my teachers, the librarian...We had 1 car. In Colombia, my husband and I have 1 old car. People fix things instead of throwing them away. The doctor and the dentist and the orthodontist aren't rich guys with Mcmansions and BMWs. Most people have good teeth and braces these days because they can afford them there. While there is poverty, there is not excess like in California and there is very little violence despite what the news media will have you believe. Certainly people don't show up at universities or elementary schools with guns. No-one has guns. I think there is more stratification in California than in my 3rd world Colombia. Just my take....
most of the news stories are BS, or the only story that ever gets out is one about a bomb that happened to explode somewhere. During the re-elections for Uribe, I was out in Parque Tayrona near Santa Marta. Going into town one day for supplies, we saw 3 burned out buses. The news story that made it to CNN was that guerillas had stepped out into the road, gotten all the people off, robbed them and burned the buses. The truth? The owner of the buses burned them for insurance because they were old and paid everyone off to be witnesses to say it was guerillas who burned them so he could collect his money! So much for the news media. It's kinda like the CPI reporting.
I live in Bucarmanga, in the state of Santander. Been pretty much all over the country...not the jungles or southern half however. Lots of time in Bogota. I have been there 1 1/2 years. My Colombian husband and I bring US & European paragliding tourists there to fly and see the country. Actually, at this moment, I am back in California for about a month, to visit family and do some business.
if you rent an illegal garage conversion or inlaw, then you have no certificate of occupancy for it. If you have a "lease" for the tenant, the lease is then not valid or enforceable. A "tenant" can decide not to pay rent, because, after all, they have no enforceable lease. Have fun getting them out. If you have to evict them, then you are going to the sheriff (the county) and basically admitting you had an illegal unit. Then you will get shut down and never rent it again or pay to bring it up to code and get it legal. Also, if you evict the tenant they can potentially request relocation fees of over $5000 and could even go after you for all the months/years of rent that they paid as it was not "legal" rent. I'd be careful here.
actually - if there is no separate meter for utilities to the "shed" it means it is an illegal unit. The landlord has no right to rent it if there is no certificate of occupancy, and as such, there is no "legal" lease. The guy living there could quit paying rent altogether as there is no legal lease for a place with no CofO. He can be evicted by the landlord but it must be a legal eviction to take the unit off the market to bring it up to code. The landlord would then be owning up to having an illegal unit and can't re-rent it. Landlord also will owe the tenant relocation fees despite the fact that it was an illegal rental - which fees are somewhere around $5600. The tenants in the main house can't require the illegal tenant to pay them anything. They could have said, however, to the landlord that they weren't going to carry this guy's utility bills and could go to the building department to report the illegal rental. If the landlord had been smart, he would have told the main house tenants they were responsible for the bills but that by tolerating the backyard tenant and incorporating the costs, he would discount their rent $100 or some such figure.