Homeowners upset after affluent San Francisco street sold at auction for $90,000

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SAN FRANCISCO — It’s not cheap living in San Francisco, but an investor bought an entire street in one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods for $90,000.

And residents of Presidio Terrace aren’t happy, The Associated Press reports.

The street is sealed off by a gate and is lined with multimillion-dollar homes.

But because of a city auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill, real estate investor Michael Cheng and his wife Tina Lam bought the street and the sidewalks.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported the street and other common ground areas in the development had been managed by a homeowners association since 1905.

“I thought they would reach out to us and invite us in as new neighbors,” Cheng told The Associated Press. “This has certainly blown up a lot more than we expected.”

The Presidio Terrace HOA failed to pay a property tax of $14 a year, which owners of all 181 private streets in the city have to do, the Chronicle reported.

An attorney for the HOA wrote in a letter that the city was sending the bill to the address of an accountant who hadn’t worked for the residents since the 1980s, the Chronicle reported.

The city’s tax office put the property up for sale for $994 in an online auction to recoup some of the lost taxes. The couple won the street with a bid of $90,100 in April 2015.

The residents didn’t find out until May the street had been put up for auction and sold when a title search company hired by the couple asked if any of the residents wanted to buy it back.

Another option Cheng and Lam have considered to make the investment pay off is to charge residents to park on the street and rent the 120 spaces.

“As legal owners of this property, we have a lot of options,” Cheng said.

The Board of Supervisors scheduled a hearing for October after the homeowners petitioned to have the tax sale rescinded.

The HOA also has sued Cheng and Lam as well as the city to block the couple from selling the street until the appeal is settled.