How To Hack The SF Rental Market

Trying to find a place to live in San Francisco that is affordable? Is that even possible anymore? That’s a question Paul Bellar, who is running for SF Assessor/Recorder 2018, is trying to answer.

Number of space bedrooms in San Francisco.

Number of space bedrooms in San Francisco.

Bedroom Hack

The map shows some of the potentially available bedrooms owned by baby boomers in San Francisco. Using Property Roll Data made available by the Assessor/Recorder’s office and combining it with census data, I was able to map the areas of SF showing all of the potential bedrooms that have been underutilized in San Francisco.

How do you get one of these rooms? Paul recommended “Nextdoor is the modern version of fliers, I would start there.” That's hoping the boomers are tech savvy. “I would also recommend putting out fliers in the local markets. Sounds out of date but it's possible."

Maybe this isn’t such a crazy idea. According to Paul, he tried this while living in Alaska during graduate school. “Yea, I put fliers out at Safeway and other markets saying I would house sit or watch the dog while they were away. I only got one response, but that was all I needed. It helped me score a room in Juneau for the summer.”

While a novel idea, other cities like Portland and Boston are keen to the idea as well.

In collecting this data, Bellar also is finding major gaps in the data maintained by the Assessor/Recorder’s. For example, based on the numbers in the data, 58% of San Francisco homes are recorded to have no bedrooms. That would mean that over half of all housing in San Francisco are studio apartments. “That's impossible. Clearly, we have a city-wide housing data problem. I'm aiming to change that.”

Well, if it helps me get a place that won’t break the bank. He’s got my vote.

If you are interested in getting involved in’s mission. Contact them.

Helpful Flier if needed.