The Rent Is Too Damn High party may have a new voter: Neil Hutchinson, a San Francisco man whose rent has just gone from $1,800 a month to $8,000. Hutchinson tells ABC7 that the 344% increase went into effect this month and he is appealing it to the San Francisco Rent Board—but the board's decision won't be finalized until August, and his landlord just served him with an eviction notice, ordering him to be out by July 21. "I don't know where I'm going to go if I have to leave here," the 47-year-old says. He tells the San Francisco Chronicle that he signed a lease and lived with roommates when he moved into the North Beach apartment six years ago but with other tenants having moved out, the landlord is now arguing that rent controls don't apply to him.
Hutchinson, a video engineer who works at conventions, says having to commute from somewhere with saner rents than San Francisco—which would be just about anywhere else in the country—would be "brutal to his career" and make it "very economically hard to produce the same number of hours," especially since he doesn't have a car. According to the Chronicle, the median monthly rent in the neighborhood has soared to $6,850. Housing experts in the city say the rent hike Hutchinson has been slapped with is one of the biggest they can remember, though there was a case last year in which a tenant's landlord notified her that her $2,145 had suddenly quadrupled. (Living in a box in a friend's living room is apparently no longer an option.)