Man Who Figured Out How to Live in San Francisco For $400 a Month Forced to Leave by City

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 11.57.12 AM

San Francisco’s high housing costs forced local Peter Berkowitz to be creative by building a 32-square-foot plywood box in his friend’s living room to live in. He may need to find a better idea soon, however, as city inspectors have ruled his box as a fire hazard.

Berkowitz’s story hit the internet last month after he built the customized mini-pod in a friend’s living room and rented the space for $400 a month. The tiny wooden home had enough room for a portable desk and a bed with reading light.


While many found his idea brilliant for saving money, San Francisco’s Department of Building Inspection has forced him to move out after they deemed the room illegal and very dangerous, reported The Guardian.

“The housing codes, the fire codes and the building codes are fairly restrictive in terms of what you can do inside, in terms of coming up with another enclosed bedroom,” said William Strawn, public affairs director for the city’s building inspection department.

“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.”


Berkowitz told the Guardian that he decided to leave the box after learning it was illegal.

“I’m 100% concerned with doing this legally,” he said. “It is not set up any more.”

He is now “figuring things out” and currently staying with his family.

San Francisco housing costs continue to climb, and getting a reasonably priced home throughout the Bay Area has become more challenging for many. According to real estate website Zumper, the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco is $3,590.

Related Posts

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: