San Francisco Landlords Go Galt

Believing that housing should be provided at someone else’s expense, progressives are no friends of landlords, whom they persecute at every opportunity. Imagine how much fun it must be to provide people an opportunity to rent homes in a city completely run by moonbats — namely San Francisco. Some landlords have had enough:

In San Francisco, one of the toughest places in the country to find a place to live, more than 31,000 housing units — one of every 12 — now sit vacant, according to recently released census data. That’s the highest vacancy rate in the region, and a 70 percent increase from a decade ago.

The reason: liberal bureaucrats place such absurd restrictions on raising rent and evicting tenants that property owners (if there is such a thing under liberal tyranny) are going Galt.

Increasingly, small-time landlords like [Wayne] Koniuk [who has been prevented by landlord restrictions from freeing up a room for his own son in his own building] are just giving up. One of his Divisadero Street neighbors has left two large apartments on the second and third floors of her building vacant for more than a decade, after a series of tenant difficulties. It’s just not worth the bother, or the risk, of being legally tied to a tenant for decades.

“Vacancy rates are going up because owners have decided to take their units off the market,” said Ross Mirkarimi, a progressive member of the Board of Supervisors. He attributes that response to “peaking frustrations in dealing with the range of laws that protect tenants in San Francisco that make it difficult for small property owners to thrive.”

Perversely, that is hurting the city’s renters as well, as a large percentage of the city’s housing stock is allowed to just sit vacant, driving up rents that newcomers pay for market-rate housing.

Where you have government coercion, you will have ruinous consequences, even if they are often unintended. Where property rights are infringed, you will have injustice and waste. Yet no matter how many times this is proven, the liberal commitment to ham-fisted coercion remains inviolate. This is because coercion is not a means, but an end.

On a tip from Steve T. Hat tips: Newsalert, Carpe Diem. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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