There’s one situation where you don’t like receiving a huge check, and that’s when you’re getting evicted. Sup. Ronen wants to shine some light on that process.
Back in 2014, then-supervisor David Campos passed a law making Ellis Act evictions a whole lot more expensive for landlords to pull off, by increasing the amount an evicted tenant is entitled to by nearly tenfold. But according to the latest Rent Board annual report, Ellis Act evictions actually increased each of the following three years (scroll down to Page 22 for that data) before dipping slightly in 2018-19. Landlords seem to be getting more clever at finding loopholes in the now four-year-old law, so Campos’ replacement Sup. Hillary Ronen hopes to tighten its screws. Representing the district that has more eviction payouts than any other, Curbed reports that Ronen will introduce new tenant buyout legislation that structures an easily gamed process, and requires more public reporting on the landlord end
“Unfortunately, landlord attorneys keep scheming ways to maneuver around our current protection and what we see is that tenants are being subjected to steamroller tactics and take-it or leave-it ultimatums,” Ronen said in a statement to the San Francisco Examiner.
The Examiner reviewed many landlord letters offering buyouts to get a sense of how these “steamroller tactics” work. In some cases, tenants are given less than ten days to consider the buyout offer, with the landlord hoping to pressure them into a quick decision. In other cases, the buyout is classified as a ‘settlement,’ skirting the buyout rules altogether.
Under Ronen’s new proposal, landlords would be required to provide their potentially bought-out tenants with guidance on their rights at least 45 days before entering into buyout negotiations. Tenants also get an additional 45 days to back out of any buyout offer they accept, and landlords would also have to report all buyouts to the San Francisco Rent Board, which they currently aren’t required to do.
The Mission District remains the neighborhood with the most eviction buyout declarations filed, according to last year’s data. More than 150 eviction buyout declarations were filed in that neighborhood, compared with No. 2 neighborhood the Tenderloin (104 filed) and No. 3 Haight-Ashbury (103). Ingleside is a distant fourth with 81 buyouts offered, and all other neighborhoods are far lower.
The Examiner points out that even planning commissioner Dennis Richards failed to make buyout disclosures on a controversial Mission District redevelopment he’s involved with, though Sup. Ronen’s office told the Examiner this legislation was being written prior to that story making the news.
Image: Steven Damron via Flickr