Homeowners upset after affluent San Francisco street sold at auction for $90000

Rich SF residents get a shock: Someone bought their street

In San Francisco, it's cheaper to buy a street than a house

The couple eventually won the street with a $90,100 bid, outlasting several other bidders.

It turns out the homeowners association for Presidio Terrace failed to pay a $14-a-year property tax, something that owners of all 181 private streets in San Francisco must do.

Their exclusive street, home to 35 mega-mansions, has been bought by an unassuming couple looking to bend them over a barrel financially.

It is "the most unique property I've come across, by far", said Cheng, a real estate agent who focuses on investment properties.

In a twist, the street is now owned by two investors of Asian origin - despite originally being governed by a "racial covenant" which prevented anyone except Caucasian whites buying property there (a provision made illegal decades ago).

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The homeowners now assume that the threat to charge them for parking is part of a plan by Lam and Cheng to get them to buy the street back for a tidy profit - which, not a bad plan.

It's an amusing story, of course, especially because the "victims" here are all insanely wealthy, and naturally the Presidio Homeowners Association has lawyered up and is seeking to get the Board of Supervisors to nullify the 2015 sale of their street.

A construction workers stands in front of the Presidio Terrace, a gated community in San Francisco.

Interestingly, the same street once housed U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein lived in one of the multimillion-dollar homes on the street when she was running for governor.

The City Treasurer's office says there's nothing they can do about the sale now, and they doubt that the Board of Supervisors will be able to rescind the sale at this point. Cheng said, they haven't decided on any of their options yet. "We took a chance".

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"I thought they would reach out to us and invite us in as new neighbours", Mr Cheng told the Associated Press.

The small tax bill for the common area was sent "for many years" to an address at Kearny Street in the city - an address apparently unknown to any of Presidio Terrace's inhabitants or property managers, Mr Emblidge wrote. All that time, it seems, the bill had been mailed to an accountant who stopped working for the homeowners in the 1980s.

Basically, Cheng and Lam caught a bunch of lazy rich folk sleeping and saw an opportunity. But now, the newspaper writes, "they're looking to cash in - maybe by charging the residents of those mansions to park on their own private street".

Initially, he said, he and Lam had hoped to meet face-to-face with the homeowners to discuss the state of affairs.

One had an asking price of US$16.9 million (NZ$23.1 million) past year, which dropped by US$2 million (NZ$2.73 million). "But when they filed a suit against the city and named us as their additional defendants, we were advised by our attorney not to talk to them".

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