San Francisco evicts man from the $400/month, 28 sq.-ft. box he was renting in his friend’s living roomWednesday.
Peter Berkowitz moved into the box after he couldn’t find affordable housing in San Francisco
Peter Berkowitz thought he had found a cozy and affordable solution to San Franciso’s housing crisis, but city officials have deemed the 28-square foot wooden box he was renting inside his friend’s apartment to be a major fire hazard.
The Guardian reports that the city is trying to discourage other cash-strapped citizens from constructing their own semi-private pods that violate local housing laws. The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,670 a month and there are reports of residents making their own homes in tents, garages or, in one case, a gussied up FedEx van.
Berkowitz, 25, told the Washington Post that the pod in his friend’s living room was “honestly very comfortable.” Standing 4.5 feet tall and measuring 8 feet long, Berkowitz built the box with help of a designer and woodworker. It holds enough space for a twin bed, a fold-up desk and LED lights.
But all the media attention doomed the room-within-a-room. William Strawn, director of public affairs for San Francisco’s department of building inspection, told the Guardian officials immediately tried to track down the box-dweller upon seeing it in the news.
“With these types of, what I’ll call creative efforts to try and cope with what everybody recognizes is a tough housing market here, you still have to follow some basic safety … rules,” he said.
Berkowitz is currently staying with family, but wouldn’t say whether he plans to build himself another pod, up to building codes, anytime soon.