SACRAMENTO (KCBS)—Bills that could have a big impact on Bay Area residents have failed this week in the state Senate, including a proposal that would have strengthened the Ellis Act, as it applies to landlords in San Francisco.
The Ellis Act is a state law that allows landlords to evict all the tenants of any building, if they want to sell it or to get out of the rental business altogether. The legislation by state Sen. Mark Leno from San Francisco, and supported by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, would have allowed the city to require landlords to own a property for five years before attempting any mass evictions.
But Leno couldn’t get the 21 votes needed, as the state Senate rejected the bill Wednesday night, by an 18-19 vote. While a long list of startups, like Twitter and Salesforce, supported SB1439, the California Apartment Association and California Chamber of Commerce are opposed to the measure.
In a statement, the CAA said they were pleased the measure failed to move through the Senate. “The legislation would have greatly weakened the Ellis Act, a landmark law that bars local governments from making property owners stay in the rental housing industry.” The CAA had lobbied heavily at the Capitol, including launching an educational website and letter writing campaign.
This was not the only bill that failed to make its way through either the Senate or Assembly, in what has long been part of the cat-and-mouse game in Sacramento. Many legislators have trouble gaining the necessary support for measures, in part because their fellow lawmakers end up not even showing up to vote.
You can hear Phil Matier’s comments Monday through Friday at 7:50am and 5:50pm on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.