SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— A San Francisco state senator is introducing a bill on Monday where new property buyers in the city would be forced to own their buildings for five years before they could evict renters.
State Sen. Mark Leno said Senate Bill 1439 addresses the increasing eviction based on the state’s Ellis Act, which was designed to to allow legitimate landlords a way out of the rental business.
Under the law, building owners can kick out tenants to take the building off the market and sell it. But critics argue that speculators are evicting long-time tenants who pay below market-rate rent in order to quickly resell and take advantage of the city’s soaring housing prices.
Leno said SB 1439 would authorize San Francisco to prohibit new property owners from invoking the Ellis Act to evict tenants for five years after the acquisition of a property, ensures that landlords can only activate their Ellis Act rights once, and creates penalties for violations of these new provisions.
The rise in Ellis Act-evictions in San Francisco has been making headlines for several months now, and Leno is the second lawmaker in recent days to push new legislation to slow the number of long-time renters kicked out of their homes.
Last Friday, State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced a bill that would allow either a vote by the Board of Supervisors or by the public to enact a moratorium on Ellis Act evictions in the event that the housing supply can’t meet up with demands.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Mayor Ed Lee had called for 30,000 units of housing to be built or refurbished by 2020.