In a third attempt at curbing speculative Ellis Act evictions by opportunistic investors, state senator Mark Leno is introducing a bill this session, similar to one that failed to pass last year. The proposed bill, Senate Bill 364, would make Ellis Act evictions illegal in buildings whose ownership has changed in less than five years, as Socketsite reports.

Pushback last year came from the real estate lobby and from senators from Southern California who had little sympathy for San Francisco's current housing woes. Nonetheless, Leno managed to get the previous bill passed in the Senate last May, only to have it get killed in an Assembly committee by a single vote. Perhaps through some backroom negotiations, Leno believes he can get it through this time around, in a third-time's-a-charm final salvo — another similar bill was proposed back in 2007.

Leno's effort at the state level comes as Supervisor David Campos local ordinance concerning Ellis evictions remains in a legal limbo. Campos's law mandated huge payouts to evicted tenants equivalent to two years of rent in a similar, market-rate unit, and a federal judge ruled that law illegal and unfair to landlords back in October. That decision is being appealed, however Campos has already backtracked with some amended legislation that caps Ellis payouts at $50,000.

And meanwhile, as 48 Hills reported, the number of Ellis evictions in the city dropped dramatically in the second half of 2014 — likely because of the feared costs associated with Campos's law, and perhaps because of various tenant protests.

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