San Francisco Residents Find Out Someone Bought Their Street

An unpaid tax bill has created a headache for some of San Francisco's wealthiest residents and made one South Bay couple the proud owners of one of the most exclusive streets in the city. 

It all stems from a $14-a-year property tax bill that the homeowners association failed to pay for nearly three decades. The small yearly fee is something the owners of all 181 private streets in San Francisco must pay as part of their yearly tax filings. 

But, the Presidio Homeowners Association failed to pay up and two years ago, the city's tax office put the street up for sale in an online auction seeking to recoup the lost $994 in unpaid back taxes, penalties and interest. 

Cheng and Lam spotted the auction online and bid $91,000 sight unseen. They won the auction which included the street, its sidewalks as well as other 'common ground' in the private development. And now they say they want to make money off their property - especially from the nearly 120 parking spaces available on the street they now control. 

Scott Emblidge, the attorney for the Homeowners Association wants to nullify the sale, saying the group didn't pay up thanks to the city mailing the bill to a former accountant who hadn't worked for the homeowners since the 80s. 

The exclusive neighborhood is chockfull of people who value their privacy. A guard is usually stationed at the entrance 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep the curious and tourists away. 

The homeowners association has petitioned the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for a hearing to nullify the tax sale. A hearing has been scheduled for October. 

In an interesting twist to the story, up until 1948, homes in Presidio Terrace could only be purchased by white people. 

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