Newsletter from Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu

Message from Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu


I have been honored to serve in this new Citywide role since February 2013 and am proud to launch the first edition of our community newsletter.

Here, you\’ll receive important updates about the work of my office, key dates and events happening across the City. 

Many people may not know that my office is responsible for generating close to 40% of the City\’s general fund revenue which pays for many of the critical services that San Franciscans rely on such as fire, police, health and family support services. Primarily, we value all properrty in the County from a single family home in the Bayview to the skyscrapers in the Financicial District. We also maintain the historic record for the over 300,000 new documents that are filed with us every year like deeds, liens and public marriage licsensces. 
Over the past year, our initiatives have centered on making government work for you:
  • E-Recording – Now title companies, financial institutions, and public entities have the ability to directly record documents from the convenience of their computer instead of physically submitting paper copies to our office;
  • Online Change of Address Forms – Reporting a change of address is simpler now with the option to complete and submit a change of address form online;
  • Implementation of third Assessment Appeals Board to more expeditiously process assessment appeals cases;
  • Foreclosure Education through our proactive Notice of Default letters shares crucial information on the resources available for property owners to help avoid foreclosure.
  • And, unlike any other county in the State, we kept our doors open the first weekend for the recording of public marriage licenses with the historic resumption of same-sex marriages in California.

We look forward to working with you and continuing to build upon the foundation of public service we\’ve built this past year. 




Carmen Chu

Assessor-Recorder, City & County of San Francisco


Property Information 
San Francisco\’s Assessment Outlook 


In June 2014, the City and County of San Francisco closed the assessment roll at approximately $180 billion. The assessment roll is the total added value of every property in San Francisco, including real estate (buildings and land) and personal property owned by businesses. This represents a 6.02% increase over the previous year\’s assessment roll.

The increase in assessed value is a result of a number of factors like the increase in the value of properties in the current market, new construction actively happening across the City and the reassessments that happen when there is a change in ownership for properties. The assessment roll is the basis for which the City and County collects property taxes. The San Francisco areas that saw the largest assessment increases include: South Financial District (12.01%), South of Market (7.4%), Mission Bay (8.4%), South Beach (7.5%) and Pacific Heights (5%). 


Business Corner 
Business Property Statement E-Filing
Are you a business owner? Now you can file your business statement (571-L) online!

There are over 35,000 businesses in San Francisco. Mandated by State law, all businesses must file an annual business property statement (571-L) to report their taxable business property. A business\’ personal property includes items such as machinery, equipment, fixtures, etc. 


To simplify this process, I was pleased to announce that businesses now have the option of filing their form 571-L directly online – eliminating the need to print and mail. As part of our outreach, I visited merchants in various neighborhoods such as the Richmond, Mission and Marina to make sure they had the information they needed to file.  


By utilizing our online portal, business owners can quickly and securely file their 571-L statements online and cut down on the time and costs. In 2015, the Business Personal Property notice will come out in February and the online filing portal will be active from February through May.  

Offering the option to e-File is part of our on-going efforts to improve customer service. For additional information, please contact my Business Personal Property (BPP) division at (415) 554-5531 or email


Homeowner Education 
Over the past year, I\’ve had the opportunity to participate and speak at housing events focused on providing homeowners or prospective homeowners with resources to make informed decisions. I am proud to do my part to promote responsible homeownership with organizations like HomeownershipSF and the Chinese Real Estate Association of America (CREAA), and look forward to continuing this work in the year ahead.  

HomeownershipSF Housing Expo
Our office partners with HomeownershipSF to proactively help homeowners who are in danger of foreclosure to gain educational assistance and guidance at no cost. 
Funded in partnership with the City, HomeownershipSF helps diverse and under-served households achieve and sustain homeownership in San Francisco through a coordinated network of member organizations.
It is critical for potential home buyers to know their rights and options and to make government and resources available to everyone.
For more information,visit

Chinese Real Estate Association of America (CREAA) Housing Expo

I was honored to participate in the Chinese Real Estate Association of America\’s (CREAA) Housing Expo in June. 

CREAA is committed to serving the needs of the community through education and outreach programs that promote and protect homeownership. As CREAA continues to grow, it is involved in educating its members, serving the community, promoting homeownership opportunities, and acting as a voice for property owners.

For more information about CREAA, please visit

Thank you to the organizations and volunteers who helped make these events successful!


Merchant Visits

Over the last few months I\’ve visited a number of San Francisco based businesses that are building and supporting a vibrant manufacturing sector in our backyard! Many of these companies are producing locally-made products while encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation. When these local businesses do well, they in turn create employment opportunities for a diverse local workforce. I am excited by the work of these companies I\’ve visited and look forward to assisting them through the work of my office.

A few highlights from local San Francisco businesses I\’ve visited include: 

Hampton Creek 
Hampton Creek is a food and technology company with their headquarters here in San Francisco. Their focus is simple and revolutionary: find new ways of utilizing plants to replace eggs in a variety of different products. I promise that their egg-less chocolate chip cookie is delicious!
I had the privilege of visiting Hampton Creek in March and was proud to see this local company promote healthy, locally sourced food options. This company exemplifies the thriving creativity and innovation that makes our local economy as diverse as it is. For more information, visit

In April I visited Lumosity\’s San Francisco headquarters and heard about how this nine-year old company continues to expand their brain training and fitness programs, while creating a work space that fosters creativity.
Lumosity\’s core mission is helping people keep their brains and minds challenged and active with the belief that it promotes better mental and physical health. To do so, they\’ve developed online tools to allow anyone to exercise core cognitive abilities. Over 60 million people already use Lumosity, and more people are joining each month!

To learn more, visit
In May, I toured Zillow\’s office in the South of Market.
Zillow is a website devoted to the home and real estate marketplace. It provides information on property characteristics and known sales prices of those properties. Their living database maintains information for more than 110 million U.S. homes – including the data collected from my office.

For more information, visit


Anyone in need of new clothes with no time to buy them? What if you had your own personal stylist? StitchFix is an online women\’s personal styling retailer that blend expert styling with technology to deliver a shopping experience personalized for each consumer. 

How it works: Create a style profile online and StitchFix will send five items to you – keep the ones you like and return the rest. A $20 styling fee can be credited to what you buy!

StitchFix has 600 employees in the U.S. with 100 employed here in San Francisco.  

For more information about StitchFix, please visit


Triple Voodoo Brewery
Located in San Francisco\’s Dogpatch neighborhood, Triple Voodoo Brewery is a modern industrial-themed brewery and tap room featuring 16 rotating taps and beers that are brewed locally and served directly on-site.
Stop by to show your support for locally and uniquely made craft beer in San Francisco!
For more information about Triple Voodoo Brewery, please visit


Legislative Corner
Revision of the Mills Act Historic Property Process

This past year, our office worked with the Planning Department and Board of Supervisors to improve the process by which owners of historic property may enter into a Mills Act Historical Property Contract. Eligible owners may apply for a potential property tax reduction if they agree to use those savings to offset the cost of rehabilitating their historic property. With this program, our office values qualified properties annually using a state prescribed approach.

For more information, please visit 



Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones
This summer, I worked with the Board of Supervisors to implement the California Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones Act of 2013. This legislation allows local governments and qualified property owners to activate blighted lots into active agricultural use with qualified properties eligible for property tax reduction. San Francisco is the first municipality in the state to enact this program. 

For more information about this program, contact the Urban Agriculture Program Coordinator at the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department:


Construction Zone
How well do you know the Transbay Development?

Construction activity is well underway on various lots around the site of the new Transbay Transit Center. When completed, the project creates a neighborhood surrounding the new Transit Center with homes, offices, parks and shops. As it is envisioned, the Transbay Transit Center has the potential to become the \”Grand Central Station\” of the West, extending Caltrain and the future California High Speed Rail underground into the new downtown Transit Center.

Here are a few quick facts about developments in the area:
  • According to the Transbay Join Powers Authority, more than 25,000 jobs will be created by the Transbay Transit Center Project.
  • The plan includes the creation of a 5.4 acre City Park on top of the Transbay Transit Center.
  • The project is spurring development around it including the construction of the adjacent Transbay tower located at 415 Mission Street.
  • When complete, the adjacent Transbay tower will measure 1,070 feet and 61 stories high and will include 1.4 million square feet of office space of which Salesforce is expected to occupy almost half the space!



Community Events  
There\’s a reason visitors leave their hearts in San Francisco! 
With so many events and unique neighborhoods around town, there\’s never a dull moment. Whether it\’s participating in \”Bike To Work Day\” and riding to City Hall from the Sunset District or serving as an assistant judge at the West Portal \”Cutest Dog Contest\” (all participants were winners), attending a tree planting with Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) or seeing the ground breaking of the Dogpatch Playground across the street from Rickshaw Bagworks, I look forward to helping connect neighborhoods with resources available to them! If you or your neighborhood association have an event and would like to get the word out, please let us know by calling (415) 554-4999 or email



About Town

If you have a moment to get out and explore the many events happening around town, you might consider the activities happening from September through November listed below.

September 4
San Francisco Opera in the Park
Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park
San Francisco Opera in the park.
Free admission.
September 5-20
San Francisco Fringe Festival
Marathon of 40-plus shows with a wide variety of alternative, classical, comedy, cabaret
September 6-7
Autumn Moon Festival
Multicultural entertainment, traditional lion and dragon dances, arts and crafts, lantern village, moon cakes and children\’s activities
September 7
The Giant Race
AT&T Park

The Giant Race features a half marathon, 10K, and 5K distances, finishing on the field at AT&T Park.

September 19-21
Oktoberfest By The Bay
Pier 48 near AT&T Park
Bringing Munich\’s autumn beer festival to the Bay, Oktoberfest features non-stop singing, dancing, music, German food and beverages.
September 13-14
Ghirardelli Square Chocolate Festival
Discover unique chocolate desserts and delicacies from Ghirardelli and beyond at this annual chocolate celebration.
September 18-20
San Francisco Irish Film Festival
Festival celebrating Irish film, music and culture.
September 20-21
San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival
Treasure Island
Nearly 100 dragon boat teams and 2,500 paddlers from across North America will race the 500-meter course; festival also features entertainment and children\’s activities.

October 3-5
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
Hellman Hollow, Golden Gate Park
This free celebration of music in the park includes a who\’s who of top entertainment.
October 5
Castro Street Fair
Arts and crafts booths, live entertainment, dancing and music are all part of the fun at this gay-friendly street festival.
October 9-13
Fleet Week San Francisco
Aquatic Park and Pier 39, Fisherman\’s Wharf 
Honor the nation\’s men and women of the Navy and marine services with Navy ship tours and air show.
October 12
San Francisco Italian Heritage Parade
Fisherman\’s Wharf and North Beach
The city celebrates its Italian heritage with a lively parade through North Beach.
October 18
Potrero Hill Festival
Potrero Hill, 22nd Street between Missouri and Arkansas Streets
The Potrero Hill Festival brings a full day of fun, food, music and community activities. 
October 18-19

Treasure Island Music Festival

Internationally renowned artists gather for a spectacular two-day, outdoor concert festival.

October 19
Nike Women\’s Marathon
Nike celebrates the 10th year of the Nike Women\’s Marathon  to raise funds and awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
October 23-26

San Francisco Fall Antiques Show

Fort Mason Center

The oldest continuously operating international antiques show on the West Coast.
November 1-9

American Indian Film Festival

Palace of Fine Arts

The world\’s oldest festival dedicated to films by and about Native Americans showcases new and exciting work.
November 21-22

San Francisco World Music Festival

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Music festival showcases the musical diversity from around the world.
November 20
Run Wild for a Child 5K and 10K
Golden Gate Park
Benefits the San Francisco Firefighters Toy program
November 21

Embarcadero Center Building Lighting Ceremony

Live entertainment and witness the lighting of the Embarcadero Center\’s towers throughout the season.
November 22

Tree Lighting Celebration at Pier 39

Engage in fun for the whole family with interactive exhibits, holiday sing alongs and more.
November 22-29
San Francisco International Automobile Show; Moscone Center
Featuring the world\’s major manufacturers displaying their 2015 model cars, almost 800 vehicles in all.
November 27
Turkey Trail Trot
Golden Gate Park 
This fun run or walk has become a popular Thanksgiving Day tradition.
November 27
Light the Menorah
Ghirardell Square 
Ghirardelli Square lights a nine-foot menorah and celebrates with music and good company.
November 29
Ghirardelli Square Tree Lighting Ceremony
Ghirardelli square comes alive with colorful performers, music and a 50-foot Christmas tree lighting up the night.
November 29
Union Square Tree Lighting Ceremony
Union Square: Powell and Geary Streets
The annual illumination of Macy\’s Great Tree includes more than 1,500 ornaments adorning the tree.

Important Annual Dates for Business and Property Owners 
January 1

Lien date for all taxable property. At 12:01am, a lien is placed on a property file to show that money is owed on a property\’s title.

February 1

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