S.F. Ellis Act reform bill rejected by Legislature
Legislative efforts to give San Francisco the ability to curtail the number of Ellis Act evictions in the city failed Wednesday night as the state Senate rejected a bill by Sen. Mark Leno after an 18-19 vote.
The San Francisco Democrat may try once more to garner additional support before Friday’s deadline to move bills out of their house of origin.
SB1182 would have required a San Francisco landlord to own a building for at least five years before they could evict tenants using the Ellis Act. The 1986 state law allows property owners to evict tenants in order to get out of the rental business, but it has been used by speculators as a way to buy affordable properties, evict tenants and flip the rental for profit.
“We’re talking about hard-working people trying to make their way in a very expensive city,” Leno said. “And for no cause, for no reason, they are being evicted.”
The bill would only have applied to San Francisco, where evictions led to protests over the city’s growing economic inequality as high-paying tech workers moved in and higher rents forced families, artists and low-wage workers out of the city.
SF.citi, a tech alliance led by venture investor Ron Conway, urged tech companies to combat the backlash by helping stop Ellis Act evictions through Leno’s bill. More than 75 companies signed on, including Twitter, Yelp and Salesforce.