SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is bringing legislation to Sacramento which could change the Ellis Act—the provisional law that has been used as a method for tenant evictions in San Francisco.
An influx of new workers have been widely blamed for skyrocketing rent in San Francisco, creating a market ripe for Ellis Act evictions by property owners deciding to go out of the rental business and sell off individual units.
Tenants in the city have complained about displacement, and Ammiano said he is laying the groundwork for a bill in January that would exempt San Francisco from some of the Ellis Act’s provisions, and give them relief, at least until the housing market cools off.
“It’s a serious issue and it’s going to take a lot of attention and a lot of brokering but I do think it’s all possible. I think the political will is there and we have a shot,” he said.
“Many times it’s seniors, people with AIDS, and people with disabilities, and if we can just stop that, that would be a good start.”
Likely opponents of the bill, like Janan New, the executive director of the San Francisco Apartment Association, say that more restrictions on landlords will only make matter worse by discouraging the construction of additional rental housing.
“The supply here has been overly restricted for 30 years and there has not been enough rental housing developed and put on line,” she said.
New said that the current situation is not a crisis as many tenant activists claim.
Citing rent board data, New said that while Ellis Act evictions are on the rise, there were only 64 in 2012 compared to 384 in 2000.
Every Ellis Act eviction, she said, results in a new home owner. However, tenant activists say they are concerned about human costs that those results will come.
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