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State Lawmakers Reject San Francisco’s Bid For Ellis Act Exemption

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'Painted Ladies' of Alamo Square (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

‘Painted Ladies’ of Alamo Square (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

DougSovern20100908_KCBS_0208r Doug Sovern
Doug began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, and then...
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SACRAMENTO (KCBS)— San Francisco has lost its bid, for now, to change state law to make it harder to evict renters from housing properties. City officials are trying to change California’s Ellis Act to help reduce rental evictions.

The Ellis Act lets landlords get out of the rental business, but State Senator Mark Leno argued it’s being manipulated by speculators, who buy properties, evict the tenants and convert them to Tenancies In Common (TIC) or condos.

His bill to make property buyers in San Francisco wait five years before evicting squeaked by in the Senate.

State Lawmakers Reject San Francisco’s Bid For Ellis Act Exemption

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98-year-old Mary Elizabeth Phillips told the Assembly Housing Committee, they should approve it too, to prevent evictions like the one she’s facing.

“I have always paid my rent on time and I’ve been a good tenant; no wild parties and a good neighbor over the past 50 years,” she said, getting some laughs.

But property owner Vince Young had a more serious tone when he said a five-year wait would hurt families like his, who bought a seven-unit building and want to occupy it.

“We are not speculators. We are not a corporation. We’re ordinary people who used our life savings to purchase a property in hopes of achieving the American Dream of home ownership and joining our family together,” Young said.

The committee defeated the bill in a 3-3 vote, with opponents saying this is the City’s problem and it should build more housing. Leno vowed to bring the bill back for reconsideration.

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