San Francisco Man Vacates Custom-Designed Pod Bedroom After City Tells Him It’s Illegal

But that isn’t the weirdest part of the story.

Photo credit: Dwight Sipler, CC BY 2.0.

Last month, I shared the story of Peter Berkowitz, a San Francisco visual artist who worked with designers to create a pod-shaped living space that could fit into someone else’s apartment and become an instant bedroom.

Is This San Francisco Man Living In a Box, or Sleeping In a Custom-Designed Pod?

That was just the beginning. Here’s what happened next:

A source, identified only as “Mike,” told San Francisco news site Hoodline that after he put a room-for-rent listing on Craigslist, Berkowitz emailed him asking if Mike would be interested in adding a pod to the room. Mike wouldn’t own the pod, but he wouldn’t need to pay for the pod either; Berkowitz would set up and manage the pod sublet on Mike’s behalf in exchange for a cut of the pod rent.

In other words: Why sell somebody a pod when you can become a podlord?

However, Mike decided against taking Berkowitz up on the offer. “No way I would answer him,” he told Hoodline. “Not only I’m pretty sure the pod thing is illegal, but I’m not contributing to that trend.”

After Hoodline posted the article, the Department of Building Inspection contacted the news site to confirm that the pods were illegal. (No report on the legality of “putting a pod in someone else’s apartment, then becoming the landlord of that pod and taking a cut of the pod rent.”)

In fact, as The Guardian reports, the city had been trying to shut the pod thing down “as soon as building officials saw Berkowitz’s photos online.”

Hoodline reports that Berkowitz asked whether the pods could be made legal and the Department of Building Inspection said no. The pod, as it turns out, is an enormous fire hazard.

The Guardian brings the story to its (current) conclusion:

In a short interview on Tuesday, Berkowitz said that as soon as he heard the city had worries about his housing set-up, he decided to leave the box. “I’m 100% concerned with doing this legally,” he said. “It is not set up any more.”

He said he was staying with family while he’s “figuring things out”.

Berkowitz declined to comment on whether he hopes to build a box that meets the city’s code requirements.

Well, now we know that bedroom pods aren’t going to be the next big thing. (At least, not yet.) We also know that, when bedroom pods happen, they might also come with podlords who want part of the pod rent.

Get excited about the future.

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