Update 3:21 p.m.: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has delayed until at least November a vote on a building code change that could reduce the minimum size of apartments in San Francisco. The board had been set to vote on the change today, but delayed action until Nov. 20.

Learn more about the proposed change below:

Original post:

Apartments the size of living rooms could be among the residential options for San Francisco renters if the city’s board of supervisors approves a building code change Tuesday afternoon.

At 220 square feet – including kitchen, bathroom, closet and a 150-square-foot living room – the new “micro-units” could be as small as the minimum space currently required in a San Francisco living room. They also could be among the smallest apartments in the country.

The supervisors are slated to consider approving a building code change to reduce the square footage required in efficiency apartments and allow the smaller residences during their meeting at 2 p.m. (You can watch it live here.) They’ve been discussing the issue since at least June.

Artist’s renderings and floor plans from the development firm Panoramic Interests, a key proponent of a move to legalize tiny apartments, show that the apartments are similar in size and layout to camping trailers or RVs.

Courtesy of Panoramic Interests
Courtesy of Panoramic Interests

Courtesy of Panoramic Interests
Floor plans with a queen bed that folds into a table. Courtesy of Panoramic Interests.
Floor plan with a queen bed that folds into a table. Courtesy of Panoramic Interests.
Floor plan with a twin beds. Courtesy of Panoramic Interests.
Floor plan with twin beds. Courtesy of Panoramic Interests.

From the Associated Press:

Proponents say the smaller apartments would provide a cheaper option for the city’s many single residents, who have been priced out of the rental market as the region experiences a resurgent technology industry.

San Francisco apartments rented for an average of $2,734 in June, up 13 percent from a year ago, according to the research firm, RealFacts.

The micro-units, in contrast, are expected to rent for $1,200 to $1,500 a month, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener told the Los Angeles Times. Wiener drafted the legislation for the smaller apartments.

The legislation has its opponents. From the Los Angeles Times:

…some critics worry that the swank model units getting kudos from officials might not be the norm. What’s to stop other developers, tenants’ rights advocates ask, from building grimmer versions, with low ceilings and poor light?

“I say no shoe box legislation,” Carmelita Perez, 67, told demonstrators at a recent news conference, where a small child sat inside a mock unit taped to the sidewalk in front of City Hall. “We are humans, not spiders.”

Some have compared the smaller living rooms that would be allowed under the revised code to parking spaces. In July, in advance of a supervisors’ vote on the code changes that was later delayed, we asked our Facebook fans and Twitter followers what they thought of the proposed “micro-units.” Below is our Storify of their responses, as well as more background on the legislation.

What’s your take proposed changes? Could you live in a “micro-unit”? Our previous post on this issue generated some interesting responses; leave a comment at the bottom of this post and let us know what you think.

San Francisco Supes Delay Vote Allowing Tiny Apartments 25 September,2012

  • It’s kind of crazy to think that $1200-$1500/month for 150-220 sq ft is deemed “affordable”. I mean, sure, it’s cheaper than some other options…but still. That seems nuts to me.

  • If it came fully furnished like in these pictures that’d be a steal for a college-aged/just out of college person!

  • These units are palaces compared to my 170 sq. foot “sro”. It’s rent controlled and I’ve been here 20 years! I won’t enrage everyone by disclosing my cheap rent. But organizing and purging are two crucial skills, as is frequent travel, for living in such a small space.

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