Lower Haight neighbors put up ‘keep out’ sign on residential hotel 

The owner of three conjoined Victorian flats in the Lower Haight is renting the units out as a residential hotel, but that has some neighbors a little miffed.

David Nale has rented up to 15 well-manicured units at 124, 126 and 128 Fillmore St. on a monthly basis for at least four years. Now he is applying for a permit to change the building’s use from a three-dwelling unit to group housing.

“Right now, I don’t have the contracts to rent out individual rooms,” Nale said. “Technically, I have three master leaseholders.”

With the change he seeks, Nale would be able to secure individual monthly leases with every tenant for rooms at about $999 each. That would include weekly housekeeping, a shared living space and all utilities.

However, neighbors have stopped The City’s Planning Department from issuing the permit by seeking further review.

In the application, one neighbor cites Nale’s alleged “lack of management” with letters from prior long-term tenants that accuse him of unlawfully evicting them.

One letter said since Nale is applying to build a rooftop deck — code-mandated open space — it and other modifications would create a “noise nuisance and light issues for immediate neighbors.”

The application also cited a petition from surrounding neighbors who oppose the project and a complaint from someone who said they saw a tenant throwing trash out a window.

But although Nale said city planners have told him they tend to agree with the neighbors, he said the allegations are not true. He said the neighbors are simply stereotyping single-room occupancy hotels.

“There are people who don’t qualify for the SROs in the Tenderloin,” Nale said. “This is an SRO in a pleasant neighborhood.”

Thea Selby, the president of the Lower Haight Neighborhood and Merchants Association, said her group has tried to open the lines of communication with Nale and his neighbors, but minds were not changed. Selby said her association did not form any official opinion.

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on Nale’s request at a meeting May 17.


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Kamala Kelkar

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