Millionaire Bay Area Homeowners Furious After Couple Bought Their Neighborhood’s Street Because of Unpaid $14 Tax

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Presidio Terrace is an oval shaped street in the prestigious Presidio Heights Neighborhood. The street is the place to live, and is even gated off from the rest of the posh neighborhood. The manicured street has well kept palm trees shading the residences of the rich and famous. And it has just been sold to a couple that doesn’t live there.

California politics can be hard to understand. Even for those who live there. The Presidio Terrace residents outside of San Francisco hadn’t been paying the taxes on their street. Confusion about where the bill was to be sent allowed the debt to mount, and then the city sold it. But not to the rich residents who live there.


As Fox News reports, “thanks to a city auction stemming from an unpaid tax bill, Bay Area real estate investor Michael Cheng, and his wife Tina Lam, bought the street and now own the sidewalks, the street itself and other areas of “common ground” in the private development.”

The price tag? Just $90,000

The multi-million dollar homes on the street have housed the likes of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. The residents could have easily have afforded to pay the taxes, or have bought the street for themselves, and yet they were unaware it was even on the block.

“I thought they would reach out to us and invite us in as new neighbors,” Cheng told The Associated Press. “This has certainly blown up a lot more than we expected.”

The residents have not been neighborly.

There are 18 of these private streets in the city, and residents must pay annual taxes for road maintenance. When the Presidio went unpaid, the city had no choice but to auction it to recoup expenses. The asking price was just $994. Cheng, and Lam won the bid at $90,100.

Then they contacted residents in May and offered to sell the street back to them. If they won’t buy it back, Cheng plans to rent access to their street to them.


“As legal owners of this property, we have a lot of options,” Cheng told Fox. This could include tolls, or even rental of parking spaces.

The homeowners seen united in their determination to fight Cheng. They’re hoping the city will step in. A hearing has been set with the Board of Supervisors in October.