This Depressingly Small Apartment Listed in SF Has a Toilet Inside the Shower

Dystopian rental listings are back in vogue for The City by the Bay

Matt Charnock

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Photo: Courtesy of Zillow

I love tiny living. (I love tiny houses; I love watching queer YouTubers transform vintage Airstreams; I love container homes; I love the idea of condensing your life to make it more manageable.) But there’s an undefined line in the sand that exists between it and practicality that is hard to define.

This is, however, until an example said boundary beams through an iPhone or Macbook Pro screen. Case in point: A listing was recently posted on Zillow for a demure, prison-like space in Lower Nob Hill that’s about twice the size of the average jail cell in an American penitentiary.

At 116 square feet in size — a space that measures roughly 10'x12'— the studio apartment at 698 Bush Street, Unit 405, is one of the smallest living spaces to come onto the market in recent memory. Worse? It’s $1,500 a month. Even worse? It only includes a wet bathroom; the shower head hangs over the toilet.

Photo: Courtesy of Zillow

While this isn’t an example of an SRO (Single-Room Occupancy) unit, which often measure less than 100 square feet and are considered the last vestige of quasi-affordable SF housing, it’s jarring to find such an entrapping apartment on the market at this price.

(I was fortunate enough to find a rent-controlled 160-square-foot SRO for $1,100 during the “pandemic pricing” spell of 2021. The unit I currently dwell in was initially put on the market for $1,800/month — a criminally high price — before Covid-19 entered our collective lexicons. It sat there for a month at that price. Then it was lowered to $1,499. Orchestra of crickets. For a single month, the listing was edited to reflect “special pricing” at $1,099. I pounced like a snow leopard onto a mountain goat... because I could justify the price for the space [within the context of San Francisco’s livability].)

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Matt Charnock

SF transplant, coffee shop frequent; tiny living enthusiast. iPhone hasn’t been off silent mode in nine or so years. Former EIC of The Bold Italic.