As pandemic protections expire, California has returned to a three day notice period for non-payment evictions (way shorter than many states!). We know that many evictions can be avoided by giving tenants more time to resolve issues and get help BEFORE an expensive and intimidating court process begins, and so we worked with Supervisor Dean Preston to introduce legislation that will require a 10-day warning period before evictions can move into the court process in San Francisco.  On January 10, this legislation made it out of committee and will go to the full board for a vote soon!

In statewide news, AB854, the Ellis Reform bill, made it out of the Assembly Housing Committee, 6-2, with YES votes from all Democratic members of the committee. Next the bill will have a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee next Thursday (1/20). The Ellis Act is a state law passed in the 80s that allows landlords to “get out of the landlording business,” and was initially intended to give small landlords a way to retire. In current practice, the Ellis Act is primarily a tool for speculators to empty rent control buildings of long-term tenants.  AB854 would stop many speculator evictions by only making the Ellis Act available after 5 years of ownership, past the window when the vast majority of Ellis evictions happen.

Locally, Mission tenants fighting their Ellis eviction are a perfect illustration of this problem. “I believe it was about three months [after our building was purchased] when we got our first Ellis Act notice,” says Paul Mooney, a tenant at the 19th street building fighting off their eviction. The speculators who bought their home have used the Ellis to evict others before, buying buildings with long-term tenants and then immediately “going out of business” to empty the building and sell it as condos.