Wealthy San Francisco residents lose private street over tax bill

Residents of an illustrious San Francisco private street where homes sell for millions have had the street itself bought from under them.

Presidio Terrace is now owned by two investors, Tina Lam and Michael Cheng, who snapped up the private road for about $90,000 (£69,039, €76,203).

The street – parking, pathways and all – was sold by the city over a $14-a-year tax which went unpaid for decades.

Wealthy residents say they knew nothing about the sale until it was done.

The result is that residents no longer own the road, pavements, trees, or any of the common land – and might have to pay its new owners for parking.

The terrace, an oval-shaped private compound, is seen as one of the expensive city’s most prestigious addresses.

Number 24, recently for sale, was listed at $6.5m. Number 26, an “exceptional residence” on the southern slope, was listed for $14.5m.

“Among San Francisco’s many prestigious communities, there are few that offer the privilege of privacy amid the magnificence of nature,” reads the blurb on one property ad.

The agency was keen to point out that “stone privacy walls and a round-the-clock security guard provide peace of mind”.

But despite the affluence of the neighbourhood, it didn’t pay its taxes – and so the city sold it at auction for defaulting on a $944 tax debt.



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