Do you make less than $100,000 a year and have a FICO score lower than 725? Well tough luck getting the 312 Filmore Street apartment! San Francisco landlord Robert Shelton wrote a memo announcing that from now on, he will refuse to rent to anyone without a six-figure salary and an ultra-high credit score. His tenants, as you may have guessed, are furious.
“The building policy requirement of a current applicant/resident is that they are able to establish their minimum annual income is at least $100,000,” Shelton’s memo said. “Additionally required is a minimum FICO score of 725.”
Is this even legal? Not at all! Housing advocates say Shelton has gone way too far. “For existing tenants, they cannot require existing tenants to provide income verification or evict a tenant for not meeting certain income thresholds or credit checks,” said Jackie Ravenscroft, a tenant’s rights attorney, according to ABC7 News.
Speculators believe that Shelton is plotting to get rid of tenants like Zo McFee who nabbed the apartment for a bargain 20 years ago; she has been paying only $1,000 a month! Meanwhile, residents across the street pay nearly $4,000 for a one-bedroom apartment. Since landlords cannot jack up existing tenant rents, “the only way they can make more money is to drive out those current residents and get in newer renters at a higher rate,” Consumerist wrote.
“It definitely reads like a harassment tactic to me, banking on the tenants not knowing their rights and self-evicting,” said Sara Shortt, head of San Francisco’s nonprofit Housing Rights Committee, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. “It just seems so over the top — even most residents would understand it is illegal.”
However, when it comes to new residents, Shelton’s bizzare demands are lawful. “For new tenants coming into a building, there’s nothing per se that prohibits him from requiring certain income requirements and credit level checks,” Ravenscroft added.
The residents at 312 Filmore Street needn’t worry anymore though. After the memo went viral, Shelton retracted his controversial statement. “After reflection and guidance, I hereby rescind the April 25, 2014 correspondence to you. The information contained was flawed. My apologies for the confusion created,” Hoodline quotes.
San Francisco residents make an average yearly income of $70,000 with a 680 credit score may find that even with those impressive stats, it may not be enough for the Robert Shelton’s of the city.