Our old buddy C.W. Nevius actually found a landlord he doesn't like -- a guy named Peter Iskander who is trying to toss some seniors and disabled people out on the streets. In a classic bleeding-heart column April 17, he lamented the pending evictions, which would pave the way for the landlord to turn some rental units into tenancies in common:
Imagine the sight of Carlo Tarrone, who is in his 70s and uses a walker, and Sandy Bishop, who is 70 and has lung cancer, forced out of their homes.
Maybe it is time to start looking at ways to get middle-class buyers into San Francisco real estate. Mayor Ed Lee is looking at a one-time "condo bypass," an idea floated by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2010, where tenancies in common residents could pay a large fee to be allowed to convert to a condo. No one would be evicted, and the cash-strapped city could gain millions in fees.
Another plan is "fractional" mortgages for tenants in common. Rather than the old model where everyone in the building is part of a large single mortgage, each unit would have its own mortgage, making it sort of a pseudo-condo.
Actually, Chuck, both of those plans will make condos and TICs more attractive. That means more evictions of old people -- and poor people, and middle-class people who want to live in the city and are getting forced out by somewhat richer middle class people. It's an awful situation, and what Nevius calls for would just make it worse.
When there's enough publicity, sometimes bad landlords back off, and I'm sure Nevius will celebrate if that happens as the result of his column. I'll be happy, too; every inappropriate eviction averted is another small victory. But most tenants don't get daily newspaper columns written about tham, and you can't fight this battle one case at a time. You need structural reforms, and repealing the Ellis Act is step one.