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      03-24-2013, 11:43 AM   #1
///Mik3
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CA Legal and/or tax experts, any advice for a fellow e90er?

I currently rent a parking garage space in downtown San Francisco. It's a residential space (garaged parking spot under an apartment building.) I've been renting it since Jan. 2010. All of a sudden I got a letter in the mail on Friday (full letter below) from the landlord of the parking garage saying that a new tax has been imposed on parking garages and that the city is charging retroactively back to april of 2011, and so now tenants owe a shit ton of money. I'm wondering is this even possible for them to do? Do I have any grounds to avoid or reduce this in anyway? If you have a second, can you read the letter from the landlord and give me your thoughts? Srs thoughts MUCH appreciated!

*************************************************
Dear Mr. XXXXXX

Due to our City's chronic spending habit, the Board of Supervisors have launched a campaign to find extra dollars anywhere and everywhere. They are also attempting to force citizens to forgo cars and use MUNI (muni is SF's local bus/transit system), thus increasing everyone's dependence on an inefficient monopoly. This is supposedly part of their "Transit First" policy.

Regrettably for you, this means the imposition of a tax on residential parking spaces in San Francisco.

The legislation requires any garage operator who rents a parking space to collect a 25% tax on the gross parking rent collected. The parking tax is assessed and payable by the tenant of the space or garage, similar to a sales tax, to be collected by the operator.

The City has announced strict enforcement on this tax, not just on large parking garages, but also on small facilities like us.

Under the terms of the program, the City insists on collecting fees from April 2011 onwards, i.e. almost 2 years. They are asking all landlords like us to collect and forward this amount. It will have to be collected in the future as well.

Unfortunately this means we are required to collect a 25% tax on your parking rent going back to April of 2011. Please refer to the amount below for the exact amount you owe and submit payment to The O'Farrell Associates before April 1st, 2013, so we can forward it by the deadline. Your back-due parking tax since April 2011 is $1050.00

In addition, we have adjusted your future monthly parking rent to reflect the newly imposed tax.

Your new parking rent will be $218.75 (Rent was originally $175/mo)

If you feel the way we feel, that this tax is an unfair burden on the everyday citizens of San Francisco, please contact the Mayor Ed Lee 415-554-6141 or mayoredwinlee@sfgov.org, or your local City Supervisor Jane Kim at 415-554-7970 or Jane.Kim@sfgov.org

Or you can write a letter to them at
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 244
San Francisco, Ca. 94102-4689

It is just possible that if enough citizens raise their voice about this, the Board of Supervisors will relent and not add this new burden to hard hit citizens.

SFrent
1201 Fulton St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
415-861-7648
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      03-24-2013, 11:46 AM   #2
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That is sf kumbaya liberal bs for you. You should send this to 7 on your side on channel 7 news. Let them expose it for all it's worth and confront the politicians and/or the owner
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      03-24-2013, 01:16 PM   #3
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empty your bank account now !

and then write back saying it's a breach of contract and you don't have the money.
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      03-24-2013, 01:17 PM   #4
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Yeah screw that...
At least the landlord seems caring lol
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      03-24-2013, 01:34 PM   #5
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faaaak, that shit sucks 2 years back..??
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      03-24-2013, 04:48 PM   #6
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Tell them to suck one. You don't owe them shit, tell them their breaching the contract.
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      03-24-2013, 08:04 PM   #7
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i would send them a flaming bag of shit on or before the deadline.
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      03-24-2013, 11:19 PM   #8
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Yeah, i've run this situation past a couple people, and they're all saying that i shouldn't have to pay the back taxes, because it was the landlords fault for not paying them or notifying me when the tax was imposed back in 2011.

however, my fear is if i make a stink about it, and refuse to pay, they could potentially kick me out, and well my garage is actually quite a steal for this neighborhood, so it would really suck to lose it.
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      03-25-2013, 06:59 AM   #9
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i would send them a flaming bag of shit on or before the deadline.
+1

This will show them you mean business
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      03-25-2013, 07:03 AM   #10
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1)Move out of California and enjoy your money since you earned it.
2)Or stay grab your ankles and don't complain about it.

California needs to Die... Financially it is dead but it needs to stop sucking the life out of people.
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      03-25-2013, 08:01 AM   #11
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Welcome to living in a big city, NYC is not much better, I know my Sister-in-law pays $500 a month to park their car in a garage and it includes all the city taxes and such.

Personally I never understood why City's allowed so many parking garaged if they did not want you parking in the city, however they love the money they get from it all.

Personally I never heard that a government could go back in time on new taxes. They have to set them to go into affect in the future, and make sure there is public notice about the new tax. The question is did your garage never notify you all about the new tax and just now is say you all are past due, of did in fact the government make it retro active. If the government made it retro active not much you can do, pay and deal or not pay and bet your car will be towed and left homeless. Maybe it can become a home for many of the homeless families in SF.
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      03-25-2013, 08:49 AM   #12
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and then write back saying it's a breach of contract ...
How's it a breach of contract if it's a new tax (if I read it correctly), just assessed retroactively? Do you argue in a store that the marked price is $1.99 but you have to somehow pay $2.xx?

To OP, my advice would be to contact the landlord and offer to split the amount 50/50. Argue that if you were renting just now, they'd have hard time collecting from someone who isn't using the space now but was in 2011, but you also understand that your current rate is below the market (it is, right?), and you appreciate it. Bottom line, it's usually better to avoid conflict.
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      03-25-2013, 10:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
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How's it a breach of contract if it's a new tax (if I read it correctly), just assessed retroactively? Do you argue in a store that the marked price is $1.99 but you have to somehow pay $2.xx?

To OP, my advice would be to contact the landlord and offer to split the amount 50/50. Argue that if you were renting just now, they'd have hard time collecting from someone who isn't using the space now but was in 2011, but you also understand that your current rate is below the market (it is, right?), and you appreciate it. Bottom line, it's usually better to avoid conflict.
true, it may not be a breach of contract. However, using your example, it would be like if you went to that store, lets say it's a gas station, and you bought gas there every month, for 2 years. However, they decided for whatever reason not to charge you tax for all those times, then all of a sudden 2 years later you get a letter saying, "hey, you know all that gas you bought in the past 2 years? yeah, umm, we're gonna need to collect tax on it."

I might be ok with the idea of negotiating a split deal with the landlord, although i'd be much not having to pay it of course. I'm trying to figure out the most tactful way to aim for not paying anything, but possibly landing at a 50/50 split.
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      03-25-2013, 10:31 AM   #14
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true, it may not be a breach of contract. However, using your example, it would be like if you went to that store, lets say it's a gas station, and you bought gas there every month, for 2 years. However, they decided for whatever reason not to charge you tax for all those times, then all of a sudden 2 years later you get a letter saying, "hey, you know all that gas you bought in the past 2 years? yeah, umm, we're gonna need to collect tax on it."
The way I understood your post, the tax didn't exist until recently? So it's not the situation where the seller has been omitting collecting the tax, but rather the City introduced a new tax, and retailers can absorb 100% of the tax, or pass it on and collect 100% from their customers, or anything in between.
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      03-25-2013, 11:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
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The way I understood your post, the tax didn't exist until recently? So it's not the situation where the seller has been omitting collecting the tax, but rather the City introduced a new tax, and retailers can absorb 100% of the tax, or pass it on and collect 100% from their customers, or anything in between.
Well, as i understand the situation so far, the city imposed the tax back in april 2011 (i began renting the space in 2010), however the landlord never knew about it. Now the city is after them for the taxes that they should have been charging. So since the landlord was never charging me the tax, they want to now charge me for the tax that should have been collected each month since april of 2011.
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      03-25-2013, 11:36 AM   #16
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You need to find the details of this tax, i.e. when it was enacted and when it was to start being assessed. In all honesty, it's not clear in the letter when that happened. You really need to nail this down, because honestly the landlord MIGHT just be covering himself now after the fact and passing the shit downhill to you. Or he might be getting screwed just as much as you (hit by a stupid city tax that they are making retroactive, which would be really lame).

I would think that if you resigned a lease after April 2011 and he knew about the tax and didn't include it, that's on him and not you, and you don't owe him a dime. I don't know that to be the case though. If it is a brand new tax, and the city government is actually making it retroactive almost two years, then I think you're just SOL.

There's a few details missing in here though, and honestly you'd need to dive into the tax itself to find out the specific timeline. I wouldn't hold anyone at fault just yet. But personally, I wouldn't take the letter from him lightly, although you do need to do your research too before you just hand over $1050 in "back taxes."

EDIT: Just read your post above. IMO, the landlord's ignorance isn't your problem. If he "didn't know" then it's on him to pay up for the retroactive taxes. But then again, if you put up a fight you might find yourself without a place to park your car pretty fast. It's really up to you. I don't think you should owe him anything though.
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      03-25-2013, 11:40 AM   #17
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The very first Google link reveladed that this tax has been around since 2011 at least, so it looks like the landlord failed to collect.
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      03-25-2013, 12:25 PM   #18
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The very first Google link reveladed that this tax has been around since 2011 at least, so it looks like the landlord failed to collect.
you know that cheeseburger you bought when you were 11? guess what there's a $1mm tax on it plus interest.

america's out of debt!
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      03-25-2013, 12:44 PM   #19
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The very first Google link reveladed that this tax has been around since 2011 at least, so it looks like the landlord failed to collect.
Based on this, it's the landlord's fault for being an ignorant to property tax law. To me it seems he is "asking" for this because it'll be a huge hit on him, but since it wasn't in your contract and he did not notify you when the tax first started, you're not obligated to pay him anything.

But, like I said, you could find yourself out of a place to keep your car safe soon, so be ready to deal with the consequences of putting up a fight.
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      03-25-2013, 05:42 PM   #20
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Landlord didn't pay correct amount of taxes. Landlord doesn't have enough to cover two years worth of taxes. Issues letter to current tenants to pay taxes.
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      03-25-2013, 06:02 PM   #21
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looks like he made a mistake, you shouldn't have to pay, if you are really happy with where you are storing your car and would like a good relationship going forward you could offer to pay some portion of it, making sure he understands that you have no obligation to do so.
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