Noe Valley Voice April 2001

Noe Achieves Full Occupancy

But Realtors and Landlords Make Room for Wannabes

By Suzanne Heretical

City housing officials confirmed yesterday what Noe Valley residents have suspected for months: Every single apartment in the neighborhood has been rented.

But the situation hasn't deterred intrepid real estate agents and thrifty landlords.

"As long as there is space to double-park on 24th Street, I'm confident we can find space to shoehorn in more people," said May Kabuck, a local realtor.

Kabuck this weekend will hold her first open house for what she has coined "Be-In-Nature" units, or BINs. In essence, she has convinced remodeling homeowners to rent out the huge dumpsters they plunk in front of their houses, which now only create an eyesore and take up valuable parking spaces.

"The low-cost models will require the renter to share space with the debris usually associated with dumpsters. However, for a few thousand dollars more, they can lease a deluxe model, which comes with an in-law suite, formerly referred to as a Port-a-Potty," she said. "You'd be amazed how much space those Port-a-Potties can provide, especially if you drop them on their side for horizontal living."

She hinted at another housing innovation that's on the horizon, but declined to give details. "Let me just say that the sign 'Garage Sale' will take on a whole new meaning," she said.

Meanwhile, the Wicked Landlords of the East & West are responding to Noe Valley's acute housing crisis by launching a new "all-inclusive" rental policy.

"San Francisco has long been known for its equal-opportunity housing," said Richard Rich of Coldwart Banker. "But we are embarrassed to say that up until now, we've been unwittingly discriminating against children and pets. We're going to change all that. Effective immediately, we are asking that every man, woman, child, and animal pay rent."

Fish, fetuses, and unthawed meat in the freezer would all be expected to pay the standard $500-a-month minimum, he said, though the group is considering putting termites, roaches, and uninvited vermin on a sliding scale. "In the rainy season, when the ants come trooping in, this could kick the rent into the high five figures. We understand this might be a hardship for a few tenants."

The group is also allowing an exemption for fur coats. "We didn't expect to find many of those in this bastion of political correctness, anyway," Rich chuckled.

In addition, San Francisco Supervisor Mark Trail has convinced his colleagues to designate all the roads in Noe Valley High Occupancy Dwelling lanes, or HODs.

"The concept is similar to HOV lanes on the highway," he said. "We'll now require every apartment to accommodate two people per bedroom. These 'monster apartments,' with as much as 200 square feet for one single occupant, are obscene."

Community Police Officer Lois Percapita warned renters not to try to circumvent the new law by propping mannequins in their windows.

But tenants activist Lisa Conndo said Noe Valleyans must fight for the right to keep blow-up dolls in their homes without fear of retribution. "If they outlaw dummies, only outlaws will have dummies," she said.

Officer Percapita also noted that the housing crisis has sparked a separate but equally disturbing phenomenon: roving gangs of "home invaders." So far, there have been a half-dozen reported incidents in which residents have returned home to find a new family living in their dwelling and their belongings tossed out on the sidewalk. "I felt really violated," said one victim, gesturing toward her possessions. "I mean, they didn't even want my stuff."