Should I Propose A Buyout to My Landlord?

by | Oct 25, 2012 | Tenant Buyouts

I live in an old 12 unit Victorian (1890s) in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury district.

Tenants in our building suffered through the Lembi years where some of my neighbors were offered $25k to move (poor timing on my part).

The new owners are currently renting upgraded units for $3200. I would like to propose a buyout to the owner and see if they would be interested in my unit.

My rent is $1140 for a large 2 bedroom. We have a middle man management company that facilitates all correspondence. Should I send the request to them or is it a better tactic to try and locate the actual owner’s contact information to send the proposal letter to?

I have no idea if the owner would consider offering a buyout, but figured a good pitch may make them consider it considering after upgrades, they would yield a $2k profit monthly.

As you may know, I help tenants negotiate buyouts all the time. I’ve written four articles that illustrate the negotiation process, strategies to obtain the best price and the provision that should be contained in a settlement agreement:

Tenant Buyouts
Tenant Buyouts: Your Absolute Bottom Line
Tenant Buyouts: Strategy for Success
Tenant Buyouts: The Agreement

99.9% of buyout offers are initiated by landlords accompanied with a vague or overt threat of an Owner-Move-In (OMI) eviction or an Ellis Act eviction. Landlords rarely move into 12-unit buildings and almost never take them out of the rental market using an Ellis eviction because 12-unit buildings cannot be converted to condominiums.

The Lembis offered buyouts four or five years ago as a part of their scheme to inflate the projected income of their buildings to refinance them using collateralized debt obli­gations (CDOs), “a strategy that made their holdings more attractive to all that practically free short-term money—hundreds of millions of dollars—flowing in from around the globe.” Danelle Morton, “War of Values,” San Francisco Magazine.

In my experience, I have successfully negotiated only one tenant-initiated buyout. That

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