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Couple buys street in exclusive neighborhood after wealthy San Francisco residents forget to pay tax

POSTED: August 9, 2017 1:10 p.m.
Herb Scribner/

The Washington Post reported this week that resident of an exclusive neighborhood in San Francisco were shocked to find someone literally bought their street.

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Not paying your taxes could lead to someone else owning your street.

The Washington Post reported this week that residents of an exclusive neighborhood in San Francisco were shocked to find someone literally bought their street after said residents didn’t pay their taxes.

Married couple Tina Lam and Michael Cheng, both of San Jose, just bought one San Francisco’s most exclusive roads called Presidio Terrace, where house prices range around a cool $16.9 million (though it has dropped since then), according to The Washington Post.

Both Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi have lived on that street, according to The Washington Post.

But Lam and Cheng bought the road after seeing it up for auction in 2015, costing them roughly $90,000.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the homeowners association in charge of the area didn’t pay a property tax bill. Owners of the area’s homes are supposed to pay the bill, but the didn’t think twice about it since the bill had been mailed to an accountant who used to work with the homeowners, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The couple beat other bids to secure it for $90,000. They’ve waited to announce ownership of the area, as they’ve sought different ways to use it.

Mainly, they want to make the street, with its 120 parking spots, marketable.

“We could charge a reasonable rent on it,” Cheng said.

The couple owns most of the street, including “its sidewalks, garden islands, leafy palm trees and other lush greenery beautifying the homes of 35 mega-mansions,” according to The Washington Post.

“We just got lucky,” Cheng, a real estate investor, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

But residents aren’t happy with the purchase, seeing as they “value their privacy — and their exclusivity,” according to the Chronicle.

The residents want the Board of Supervisors to negate the sale.

But Amanda Fried, spokesman for the city’s treasurer and tax collector, said such a move would be unlikely.

“Ninety-nine percent of property owners in San Francisco know what they need to do, and they pay their taxes on time — and they keep their mailing address up to date,” she said.
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