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San Francisco Ellis Act Evictions Surge 170 Percent In Last Three Years

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A sign advertising an apartment for rent hangs from a fire escape in front of an apartment building July 8, 2009 in San Francisco, California. As the economy continues to falter, vacancy rates for U.S. apartments have spiked to a twenty two year high of 7.5 percent, just short of the record high of 7.8 percent set in 1986. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

A sign advertising an apartment for rent hangs from a fire escape in front of an apartment building in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

HollyQuan20100908_KCBS_0017r Holly Quan
Holly was born and raised in Oakland and she graduated from San...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco have increased 170 percent over the last three years, according to a report made by the city.

The Ellis Act is a California provisional law which provides landlords a legal way to go out of business—allowing them to sell property to another landlord. It’s often used to circumvent municipal rent control.

The report from the city’s budget analyst states that Ellis Act evictions are up 170 percent from February of 2010 to February of this year and that standard evictions are up 38 percent. During this time, home prices in the city have risen 22 percent.

“I don’t think that anyone has a panacea, that there is one way to deal with this crisis. That’s why I think it’s important for us to try different strategies,” said Supervisor David Campos, who requested the report.

Campos, who represents the Mission—which topped the list of neighborhoods with the highest number of Ellis Act evictions—said there are no concrete solutions. He suggests increasing the amount of money landlords have to pay for relocation services which is now about $5,200.

As the economy has improved, transactions increased—including building owners choosing to sell units rather than rent them which have not only forced rents up but also the evictions of long-time tenants.

The Mission, Castro, Russian Hill, North Beach and the Richmond—both inner and outer— topped the list of neighborhoods for Ellis Act evictions, according to the report.

A group representing landlords said the city is not in a crisis, not compared to the early 2000s when hundreds of renters were facing eviction a year. The new report shows 120 in all of 2011 and 2012.

However, a tenants’ rights group said those numbers don’t reflect the whole picture because, most of the time, renters are forced out by buyouts instead of evictions.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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