Ellis Act reform would have required waiting period before evictions
by Brian Leubitz
Well, after a lot of drama getting out of the Senate, the SF Ellis Act reform legislation died in the Assembly:
The Ellis Act reform bill introduced by Sen. Mark Leno, D-S.F., will not be moving forward this year, according to his office. The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1439, sought to limit evictions in San Francisco by requiring new property owners to wait five years before invoking the Ellis Act, a state law that allows a landlord to evict their tenants if they intend to leave the rental business. …
“I am profoundly disappointed that the Assembly Housing Committee failed to pass critical legislation that would help mitigate the negative impacts of a recent surge in Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco,” said Leno in a statement following the Assembly Housing Committee vote. (SF Examiner)
The bill took a couple tries to get it through Assembly, and ultimately trying to make law for one county at the state level was just too high of a hurdle to clear. The bill only applied to SF because of the unique housing conditions, something of a perfect storm. Rising housing costs in both the rental and ownership markets, combined with a complicated rent control system leave a lot of loopholes to exploit and a lot of incentive to exploit them for speculators.
But ultimately, this was never any sort of silver bullet. It dealt with a small, but high-profile, loophole. San Francisco needs to look at a kitchen sink approach to try to bring housing costs under something resembling control, or the beautiful City by the Bay will lose the diversity that helped make it great.