Supervisor David Campos revealed over the weekend that he plans to introduce some new legislation to counteract the eviction trend. He's hoping that a new law would provide "incentives against the Ellis Act" to landlords, and hopefully more meaningful assistance to those tenants who get displaced.
The legislation is not likely going to be introduced or voted on too soon, but this week Campos is going to be asking the City Attorney's office to draft something that would double the amount of relocation assistance required for displaced tenants under the Ellis Act currently it's around $5,000, and this would double it to $10,000. The hope is that this will be more of a disincentive for landlords thinking about evicting tenants, but if they still go through with it, it will provide a more generous chunk of change to those who have to move.
Campos will also hold a hearing on the "level of crisis" with regard to housing, rent increases, evictions, and housing displacement, after the release of a neighborhood-by-neighborhood analysis of the current situation.
Evictions are on the rise, as you've all heard, and Campos said, "I think we are facing an affordability crisis, a displacement crisis and we have to act like it is a crisis." As Mission Local reports, he hinted at the legislation, which he said he'd be proposing within days, during the Dia de los Muertos celebration in the Mission.
The Ellis Act, which came into being in 1986, permits landlords to empty out buildings in order to "go out of business," so long as the units do not become rentable for at least 3 years. The law has been widely used to create TICs and condos out of rental properties, and earlier this year Ellis Act evictions hit a 12-year high. You can see this disheartening map
Landlords, of course, blame rent control for their troubles, citing the fact that they sometimes can't afford the situations they're left with, with low rents and longtime tenants they can't remove. In the case of small-time, mom-and-pop landlords, this can lead to buildings they can't afford to maintain.
Last month, Mayor Lee also increased the funding for the Housing Trust Fund, which provides legal assistance to families to fight illegal Ellis Act evictions.
Expect more about this new legislation in the coming weeks.