Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a regular column exploring what you can rent for a set dollar amount in different neighborhoods. Is one person’s studio another person’s townhouse? Today’s price: $2,200.
It’s time again to puzzle over what precisely constitutes an apartment in San Francisco these days? This ad pushes a supposed basement apartment in the Presidio with one bed and one bath, but the catch is that the kitchen is upstairs and shared with the main house. Technically, legally, an apartment needs a kitchen of some kind to actually qualify as a living unit...but on the other hand there’s at least a bathroom downstairs and the basement has its own entrance, and as bizarre as it sounds to say paying $2,200 is a pretty good deal in the Presidio, so why stand on ceremony? Like much Presidio housing stock, this is former officer housing that’s since been divided into a duplex. The listing doesn’t say whether pets are allowed.
Speaking of relatively but ironically low rents in pricy San Francisco neighborhoods, there’s also a “sunny junior one bedroom with high ceilings” right on the edge between Cow Hollow and the Marina—evidently the most expensive neighborhoods in San Francisco to buy a home in 2019. “Why live with roommates when you can have a space of your own?” the ad poses—which might not be a rhetorical question, since at $2,200 per month a renter might need to have a pretty compelling reason to go it alone. The whole place is less than 400 square feet with no pets, and the junior bedroom is actually a room unto itself but one without a door.
At least there’s no ambiguity about this apartment in Lakeside, a one bed and one bath in-law deemed “completely newly renovated” and “move-in ready,” complete with the gray slat floors and immaculately white interiors that renters have come to expect from almost all newly constructed ADUs—and yes, there’s a kitchen, so that settles that at least. The ad says no pets allowed, and also tries to limit the prospects to single renters by declaiming “no couples,” although this is actually illegal, as occupancy limits start at two persons to one bedroom, per federal law. Either way it’s $2,200 per month.
This Tenderloin studio on Hyde Street promises a “deposit special”—half off if you’re “well-qualified”—but the deposits for pets range up to $500 for dogs, so you could end up paying more anyway. The listing cals this a “newly updated studio apartment with exposed brick detailing” and a “cozy mixture of updates and industrial charm” in a building circa 1914. According to the permits issued by the city for this unit in May, the renovation included removing a partition wall between the living room and the kitchen—which actually would make an incredible difference in the space, given the proportions of the unit. Without that wall it’s $2,170 per month.
Last of all, Polk Gulch has a “green trendy organic furnished studio for rent” on Bush Street with just 300 feet for $2,095 per month—note that of those words “furnished” is the one least likely to be deemed a hot prospect in SF, although this ad does pose a mystery about what precisely an organic apartment might be. This same unit appeared previously in October, also trying to pass itself off as a Nob Hill home at that time too. No word about pets.
Which rental would you choose?
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Cow Hollow Jr-One Bedroom
Polk Gulch Studio