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What $1,500 rents you in SF right now

Five new rentals, from the Tenderloin to Bernal Heights

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 is another person’s townhouse? Today’s price: $4,300.

The potential for a bargain can make renters do strange things. Case in point, this ad that’s offering a “Sunset half a house with private bedroom and private bathroom” on Yorba Street, just north of Sloat Blvd and the lake. That’s right, not a house and not an apartment—but several rooms of a house for $1,500 per month. Said half a home includes a living room, a newly remodeled kitchen, a deck, and a garden. Also of note, your own “private bedroom with a private marble bathroom.” Alas, no pets allowed. Trying to pass this off as a rental rather than a roommate arrangement with turf division is clearly cheating, but sometimes making ends meet in SF means bending the rules.

At least no one is cheating when it comes to this Duboce Triangle studio, which is without question a discrete and separate apartment all on its own, no fudging of any kind. Of course, per the ad, the entire space encompasses 144 square feet. “Live without roommates in the best, most central neighborhood in the city,” the landlord promises—and indeed, one thing anyone can guarantee is that no roommates are in the cards at this particular micro-home. It’s $1,395 per month, no word about pets. Note that the listing furnishes only one photo of the interior, even though there can’t be much else to see.

Can you really rent a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment in the Mission for just $1,500 in 2019? Well, no, or at least not per this particular listing, which does indeed advertise those terms. But upon closer inspection, the highlighted one-bedroom home is clearly a junior-one-bedroom, tucked into an alcove to the side of an otherwise fairly standard studio. Also, though the home is listed under ads for the Mission, the location on Coleridge Street is in Bernal Heights, albeit the northern tip closer to Mission Terrace than the heart of Bernal itself.

Even SROs are renting for well over $1,400, like this one in Lower Nob Hill. Located inside this building at 775 Post (which, per the Planning Department, dates to 1913), a single room that measures out to just 225 feet means sharing a communal bathroom with neighboring units is $1,425 per month. No dogs allowed, but cats are okay. According to the Department of Building Inspection, the city has twice cited this property in 2019 for housing and health code violations, the most recent of which (from a May inspection) remain outstanding.

Finally, this ad for a similar unit in the Tenderloin on Jones Street does not note its SRO status anywhere in the listing. But the city and other SRO resources list the Aldrich Hotel as among SF’s SRO stock, and the one-bed, shared-bath setup doesn’t leave a lot of ambiguity. “Furnished rooms available,” no word on pets. The city does not cite this building for any recent health or housing violations, although the owners got a slap on the wrist in 2017 for renovations without permits after a fire.


Which rental would you choose?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Sunset "apartment"
    (35 votes)
  • 24%
    Duboce Triangle Micro Studio
    (91 votes)
  • 62%
    Mission Apartment
    (227 votes)
  • 2%
    Lower Nob Hill SRO
    (9 votes)
  • 1%
    Tenderloin SRO
    (4 votes)
366 votes total Vote Now