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From my office I hear the police shouting through a megaphone, clearing out the homeless encampment in the alley behind my building.

Meanwhile, the storefront across the street from my office has been empty for months, because the landlord raised the rent to a level nobody can afford. They'd rather keep it empty as a tax break.

Somebody tell me one reason landlords should get tax incentives for keeping rent ABOVE market rates, in a city full of people who need homes.

@nindokag Are they literally getting some kind of deduction for not having renters, or are they just not having to pay income tax on rent they're not making? Are they categorizing the property differently when it's vacant or something?

@freakazoid

"Commercial landlords whose storefronts have been vacant for six months or longer are eligible for a tax credit as long as they are making an honest attempt to rent, sell or improve the property, according to state law."

blockclubchicago.org/2018/06/1

but that's Chicago, not San Francisco. I should research what the local policies are.

@nindokag Apparently they're talking about proposing (?) a "vacant property tax" which would seem to imply there's probably not currently some credit available at least at the municipal level.

What I've seen in San Jose is that property owners will keep property vacant because they are betting rents will go up and they don't want to get locked into a lease at lower than what they think their property is worth. It's also often easier to sell vacant property.

ktvu.com/news/san-francisco-wa

@nindokag Oh, yeah, another issue is that many cities actually have a very small number of landlords, so they will avoid renting some places at lower rents just to keep rents high in their other places. It's monopolistic behavior.

@nindokag I'd like to see a city with enough homeless to refuse to leave a settlement.
@nindokag It seems to be similar everywhere. When I was in Manchester (UK) I saw lots of unused residential space and also lots of homeless people. The building I was in was maybe 20% occupied at most.

@nindokag I overheard an agent at work talking about a couple who were making $250,000 a year just on AirBnB alone. And that's before we talk about people who are buying property solely as a means to shuttle money out of their countries as a long term value store.

@nindokag
"They'd rather keep it empty as a tax break."
This.
I've seen this over and over in both commercial and residential in canada.
They just keep upping the rent until you leave and then it sits empty for years. Disgusting.

@nindokag the idea of property where one person gets to exclude everyone else from a common resource should require extreme justification. Owning a common resource but not using it is offensive and should be heavily discouraged by heavy taxes, not encouraged with incentives!

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