SF's Illegal In-law Units Could Number In Tens of Thousands

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Does this home hide an illegal inlaw unit? 33 percent of homes in one San Francisco neighborhood do.

    Apartment-hunters in San Francisco may be used to the sight -- a one-bedroom apartment for the unheard-of sum of $1,000 a month. But there's a catch -- no cooking, no guests, and no legal housing.

    It's an in-law unit, one of many -- but until recently, it was never clear how many. A report suggests that 40,000 or more of these illegal in-law units may exist in San Francisco, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

    A recent survey of the Excelsior neighborhood turned up some interesting facts. About one-third of single family homes there also contained an in-law unit -- a converted basement, garage or backyard "cottage" housing unit, according to the newspaper.

    Previous estimates gauged that only 23 percent, not 33 percent, of homes had in-laws.  If the findings in the report, conducted by the Asian Law Caucus, are correct, there are untold tens of thousands of illegal in-law units across the city.

    And just how many people are hidden in these homes, many of which are not up to code and lack bathrooms, smoke dectectors and other amenities? Most in-laws have children or seniors, with over three people. That could mean tens of thousands -- or perhaps 100,000 -- people crammed into substandard housing, the newspaper reported.