State Senator Mark Leno's effort to prevent cases of real estate flips in Ellis Act evictions, after getting an 11th-hour save in the Senate a few weeks ago, has finally died in committee in the Assembly. It therefore won't be moving forward this year.

Leno had proposed a statewide revision to the Ellis Act, SB 1439, which would have made it impossible to invoke for buildings that had changed ownership within five years, thereby thwarting the kind of real estate speculation that is said to have driven hundreds of evictions in San Francisco in recent years. No where else in the state has the 30-year-old law been so controversial as in the dense, urban, and highly profitable SF market.

After some pushback from state senators from Southern California, who blamed San Francisco's current housing woes on a lack of residential development, Leno managed to get the bill through the Senate in late May, but last week it failed to pass in the Assembly's Housing Committee in a 3-4 vote, as the Examiner reports. Yesterday, Leno's office announced that it would not be put up for a vote again, and he said in a statement that he was "profoundly disappointed."

Most of the opposition was coming from business interests and landlords, and the real estate lobby had already almost successfully killed the bill in an initial Senate vote last month.

In San Francisco, thankfully, city legislation sponsored by Supervisor David Campos is already making Ellis Act evictions much more expensive for landlords. Whereas it used to require only a $5,200 relocation payout to evicted tenants, as of this month that number goes up to potentially $30,000 to $50,000, or even more — when looking to sell for condo conversion, it requires landlords to pay the difference between a tenant's current rent and what it would cost to rent a similar, market-rate apartment for two years.

[Fresno Bee]