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Twitter allegedly has illegal bedrooms at headquarters, SF officials investigate

San Francisco officials are investigating the case a complaint alleging that Twitter illegally converted parts of its headquarters into bedrooms.

The complaint was filed with the city’s 311 service by a user on the social media network itself, after Forbes reported that some conference rooms had been turned into “modest bedrooms with unmade mattresses, drab curtains and giant conference rooms with telepresence monitors.”

Unidentified Twitter employees told Forbes that an estimated four to eight bedrooms per floor were installed in the 1[ads1]355 Market St. building. The Chronicle was unable to independently verify the claims. City registers show that there have been no applications to convert parts of the building to residential use.

Twitter owner Elon Musk appeared to confirm the company had installed beds and criticized Mayor London Breed for scrutinizing the company instead of focusing on the city’s drug crisis.

“So the city of SF is attacking companies that provide beds for tired employees instead of making sure kids are safe from fentanyl. Where are your priorities @LondonBreed!?” Musk posted on Twitter, links to a Chronicle story about the reported fentanyl overdose of a 10-month-old baby.

The city’s Department of Building Inspection is seeking to conduct an on-site inspection for potential violations and has contacted the building manager for more information.

“We investigate all complaints. We must ensure that the building is used for its intended purpose. There are various building regulations requirements for residential buildings, including those used for short-term stays. These codes ensure that people use space in a safe way, says Patrick Hannan, spokesperson for the Department of Building Inspection.

If a building code violation is discovered, the agency will issue a public notice of violation.

In the wake of Musk’s purchase of Twitter, some workers publicly said they were sleeping in the office during heavy work demands.

Last month was Esther Crawford, Twitter’s Director of Product Management photographed in a sleeping bag and wearing an eye mask in what appeared to be a conference room.

“When your team is pushing around the clock to make deadlines, sometimes #SleepWhereYouWork,” she wrote in a tweet, playing on the hashtag #LoveWhereYouWork.

Musk himself wrote in a now-deleted tweet that he would work and sleep at the headquarters “until the organization is fixed.”

Twitter, which has laid off its communications team, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Shorenstein, who owns 1355 Market St. with JPMorgan Chase, declined to comment.

Twitter’s 2011 lease with a Shorenstein unit, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, says the landlord “may reasonably withhold consent” to Twitter seeking to sublease its space to a “facility to provide social, welfare or clinical health services or sleeping places (either temporarily, during the day or overnight).” The lease does not appear to state whether Twitter could operate sleeping places itself.

The 1355 Market St. building is in a downtown general commercial zoning district, which allows office, hotel, entertainment and high-density residential.

In April, Musk tweeted a now-deleted poll titled “Convert Twitter SF HQ to homeless shelters since no one shows up anyway,” in what appeared to be a criticism of the company’s telecommuting policy, which he later scrapped. Dan Sider, the chief of staff in the city planning department, told Bloomberg CityLab at the time that “from a regulatory perspective, it would be pretty easy to convert this building into a homeless shelter.”

Separately, California Labor Federation said Tuesday that Twitter terminated a contract with union janitors a day after they staged a picket and strike outside its headquarters. Laid-off Twitter employees are also seeking arbitration over allegations that the company failed to deliver promised severance packages and provided statutory layoff notices.

Roland Li is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @rolandlisf

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