It may be too soon to tell if any of the laws passed in the last two years protecting tenants and making evictions more expensive for landlords will ultimately have an impact on the real estate market in San Francisco. But over the weekend, the Chronicle put together a list of all the measures that have passed, and under whose sponsorship, since 2013, along with a piece about their relative impacts, and the general tone is one of hopelessness. Landlords are getting screwed, it's a drop in the bucket for tenants, and prices will never go down that's the basic gist.
In total there have been eleven separate measures and pieces of legislation passed or proposed by the Board of Supervisors, including one creating a graduated transfer tax that would make flipping a multi-unit building unprofitable without penalizing long-term owners, and a new law that would require landlords offer tenant buyouts in lieu of eviction to register those buyouts with the Rent Board and allow tenants to learn their legal rights.
There's a companion piece highlighting the landlord-vs.-tenant aspects of the Ellis Act fight which attempts to humanize a couple of small-time landlords who feel they can not, and should not have to afford the steep relocation payments that they're now on the hook for if they simply want to free up units they own for family members. One landlord, 79-year-old Jerrold Jacoby, is a fourth-generation San Franciscan who simply wanted to make room in his Russian Hill in-law cottage so that his daughter would be able to help care for him in his old age.
But, of course, for every story like Jacoby's there are probably five involving real estate speculators and flippers of multi-unit buildings for profit, so the Chron piece does a good job of highlighting the tragic exceptions to the Ellis Act dilemma without focusing on the primary driver behind the recent changes in the law. And yes, everyone's having a difficult time and no one wants to leave (in the case of tenants) their home of many years, or be told what to do with property (in the case of landlords) that they've owned for decades.
So yes: no happy solutions.