Photo: Google Earth
Here’s a lesson on why you should always pay your taxes on time: a South Bay couple has purchased Presidio Terrace, a privately-owned, affluent San Francisco street in an online auction for a mere $90,100. It’s known for being one of the most expensive streets in one of the most expensive cities in the country.
How did this snafu occur? The City put the street up for auction after the Homeowners Association for Presidio Terrace went 30 years without paying its property taxes. The $14 per year bill had been mailed to an outdated address. After three decades, the City was owed $994.77 in uncollected taxes.
“Well we are just completely flabbergasted,” a local resident told CNN in an interview.
The couple who now own Presidio Terrace, Tina Lam and Michael Cheng, won the auction in 2015. They kept hush-hush about the purchase while they spoke to lawyers about their options. Residents of the private street only found out about the sale on May 30th, when they were contacted about buying back parcels of common land from the new owners.
Lam and Cheng could technically charge the residents a steep bill for the 120 on-street parking spots. If they refuse, the couple will consider renting the spots to those outside the gated community. Consequently, the residents are now suing the City and the Homeowners Association for their lack of effort in determining the correct mailing address for the property tax bill.
This isn’t the first time the ritzy enclave has run into problems with the taxman. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, during the 1970s, the Presidio Homeowners Association failed to pay property taxes on its common areas, which caused the state to take possession. The residents of Presidio Terrace didn’t rightfully own their manicured sidewalks or stone privacy walls again until 1985, when the title was reacquired.
The homeowners have petitioned the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for a hearing to revoke the sale of their street. The board will decide whether or not they want to hear the case on Tuesday, September 5th.