Mayor Lee responds to political furor with more funding to fight evictions

This map of Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco was circulated by the Guardian and other starting in April.

We’re not sure whether it was the high-profile recent protests against the eviction of the Lee family, our well-read “City Hall must address rising rents” editorial or eviction and gentrification coverage last week, our earlier focus on record eviction rates, or just the growing view that City Hall is too friendly to landlords and neglectful of tenants, but the Mayor’s Office has finally awoken to the biggest issue facing this city.

With skyrocketing rents -- and with increasingly common efforts by the landlords of rent-controlled apartments to take advantage of that market by forcing out their tenants -- Mayor Lee this afternoon announced that he’s tripling funding to fight illegal Ellis Act evictions, making populist statements along the way.

Now, spending an additional $700,000 to fight greedy, deep-pocketed landlords is not exactly going to change the playing field, but it’s a nice gesture and an indicator that Mayor Lee is starting to notice the problem. Hopefully, with pressure by progressive politicians and activists, this will be just the first of many such actions.

His press releases follows in it entirety:



San Francisco to increase resources to support residents and families affected by illegal Ellis Act evictions and releases Eviction Prevention Funding from Housing Trust Fund

San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced San Francisco will triple the amount of funding to prevent illegal Ellis Act evictions and that the City will release $700,000 in funding for other eviction prevention services from the Housing Trust Fund.

“San Francisco must remain a viable place to live and work for people at all levels of the economic spectrum,” said Mayor Lee. “That’s why I am providing additional resources to stop unlawful evictions and provide tenant counseling for our residents, so that San Francisco remains a City for the 100 percent.”

The Human Services Agency (HSA) currently provides nearly $8 million in homeless prevention and eviction defense services, an increase of $1.3 million from last year’s budget. In this year’s budget, the City was providing nearly $125,000 to fund free legal advice and represent 55 San Francisco families who have been affected by illegal Ellis Act eviction threats. Today, Mayor Lee tripled the amount of funding with an additional $250,000, which will immediately be available to eligible organizations that provide Ellis Act prevention legal work and will help more families and people at all levels of the economic spectrum remain in San Francisco.

“Providing resources to stop unlawful evictions has proven to be one of the most effective strategies to prevent displacement and homelessness in our City,” said Trent Rhorer, Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency. “This additional $250,000 will help keep San Francisco families in their homes.”

The Mayor’s Office of Housing will also provide $700,000, from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, to fund tenant counseling services. This is a 63 percent increase in funding and brings the total amount to more than $2.3 million in eviction prevention services from the Mayor’s Office of Housing. These additional resources will be distributed to community based organizations specifically expanding legal representation for individuals facing eviction; rental assistance to individuals and families who are currently homeless or are struggling to keep their current rental housing; and to provide outreach to San Franciscans to better inform them about their legal rights.

The Mayor’s Office of Housing has prioritized eviction prevention services and funds activities including legal services, tenant counseling, rental assistance, move-in assistance, know your rights trainings, and other types of tenant support.  Services are offered through a diverse group of community based organizations that reach San Francisco's many communities including seniors, people with disabilities, immigrants, the homeless and families.

The HSA will issue an ‘Invitation to Bid’ this week so eligible organizations can apply and use the HSA funding to expand their legal services in order for them to be available to vulnerable tenants within 30 days. It is anticipated that the additional HSA funds will help at least 150 households receive legal advice and representation.






Since the Democrat controlled super-majority in the state legislature won't get off their asses to overturn Ellis, it's up to the local political leaders to stand up to the property speculators who are throwing SF tenants out of their homes. If Jerry Brown wants to sue the city to show his support for the economic elites who are displacing current SF residents, good for Jerry.

The political elites - Democrats and Republicans alike - have been supporting property speculators and landlords for decades, so the sooner lower and middle-income families understand that the politicians are firmly on the side of the economic elites, the sooner we can get on with the coming battle between the rulers and the ruled.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 8:39 am

Most Californians are homeowners. Tenant advocates should be working toward creating a system which helps current SF residents become homeowners.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 9:32 am

crappy flat that the owner has no incentive to maintain or improve. And the Ellis risk makes that strategy moot anyway.

Better that we build a huge number of units for owner-occupancy, driving down the price to something that most SF'ers can afford.

The rest would probably be happier in the East Bay. Not everyone can afford the world's favorite city.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 9:52 am

Here's how the system works. Listen carefully. If you don't like a law, vote to change it. If you fail, accept and obey the law. It's not complicated.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 9:50 am

My next door neighbor has a 2-story, 2-unit apartment building. He lives on the top floor but is leaving the bottom empty. He has a daughter away at college and is worried he will never be able to put his daughter in there if he rents the unit. You cannot evict a tenant from a building in order to give your child a place to live. I find this pretty egregious.

In the meantime, he is renting it by the week through airbnb.

I support many aspects of rent control, but the example above, and also the common "master tenant" ploy (a tenant w/ a lease renting out rooms in a flat, keeping the profit, and stiffing the property owner) need to be addressed.

Posted by Guest Lecturer on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 10:13 am

eviction under the rent ordinance is a move-on of an owner or the move-in of a relative of the owner if and only if the owner lives in the building, which in this case he does.

Relative means parent, sibling, child or partner.

So a RMI eviction is possible. But that comes with restrictions on the unit and/or the building, so it probably makes sense to leave the unit vacant.

If it were me, I would AirBnB it for times when the daughter doesn't need the place. Easy $100 a night or more, and no pesky rent control!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 10:37 am

A city of victims who expect to live off of the efforts of other people, is a rotting and unsustainable city. No one should expect to have CHEAP RENT for life. The Ellis act has been in force since 1986 !

Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 1:59 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 02, 2013 @ 2:31 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 7:10 am

Despite the moratoriums agreed upon in June, the new legislation still seems to allow 2000+ conversions and evictions to go forward.

And from what we read, it seems that Ed Lee is finally taking a hard position against the Ellis Act Evictions:

But it seems like Ed Lee feels handcuffed, and is only committing a small amount of money and resources to stop the continuing evictions.

Has anyone thought about proposing to Ed Lee or the supervisors, a new TRANSFER TAX for Ellis Act endeavors?

It could be used to discourage conversions/evictions that seem unjustly motivated by financial profiteering – something that no one wants.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 1:15 pm

enacting policies that interfere with the right to Ellis. Sticking differential rates of transfer tax to deter Ellis in the way you suggest would almost definitely be rejected by the courts as being discriminatory as well as for rather blatantly trying to undermine Ellis.

What you don't get is that Ellis confers an unfettered right to exit the rental business. So fetters won't work.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

Your statement that – the only way a new TRANSFER TAX concerning Ellis activities could be defeated, is in the COURTS – reveals the inherent vulnerability of your clients’ position.

To argue that a city does not have the power to impose taxes is not only weak, it's preposterous.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 8:36 am

You cannot apply one rate of transfer tax to property A and another rate to property B purely on the artificial basis that some previous owner did something that you ideologically disagree with.

How about a different rate of sales tax depending on whether you have a beard or not? Differential income tax rates based on eye color?

And yes, the courts are sometimes needed to bounce laws that municipalities pass that are unconstitutional. It has happened a number of time with rent control. Beirman tried to push TIC conversions through the condo process. She got the votes but the courts bounced it.

Presumably you think Prop 8 should have been upheld?

Anyway, back to the topic, Ellis gives an "unfettered right" that cities cannot interfere with, legally. Moving expenses are OK within reason. But you cannot punish an owner for invoking Ellis - that was the exact reason Ellis was passed!!!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 8:53 am

Dennis Herrera could word the language of a new TRANSFER TAX on Ellis scams during his lunch hour.

The true task in applying the Tax Strategy to Ellis Act evictions lies in motivating David Chiu, Jane Kim, and Ed Lee into taking firm positions that protect the small guy, and to quit waffling.

Eviction Free San Francisco website:

Posted by ThinkAgain on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 12:52 pm

shot down in no time at all. I could write to motion to quash it in my sleep.

How many evictions so far in your so-called eviction-free summer? Not zero, that's for sure.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

Dennis Herrera could word the language of a new TRANSFER TAX on Ellis scams during his lunch hour.

The true task in applying the Tax Strategy to Ellis Act evictions lies in motivating David Chiu, Jane Kim, and Ed Lee into taking firm positions that protect the small guy, and to quit waffling.

Posted by ThinkAgain on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

he also knows that he was swept to power on a pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-business and pro-tech mandate.

And that means there have to be homes for the high-value employees relocating to SF to help build our economy and taxbase.

And that means more condo's and TIC's to house them.

And that means more evictions under Ellis.

don't listen to what ED. Watch what he does. Not that he can do anything about Ellis anyway as he is trumped by State law.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

All the leftist fools here refer to private apartments as being "San Francisco's Housing Stock" as if privately owns apartments were PUBLIC property. Well they are NOT. And the Ellis act keeps you from putting your little fantasies into reality.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 03, 2013 @ 9:25 pm

believe that property should be nationalized as in communist nations.

Communist nations are not known for their fine homes. The proles all lived in soulless concrete high-rises.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 6:55 am

That's true. If not for the alleged "enormous profits" there would be no apartments for the rent control thieves to steal from the rightful owners. In Cuba that socialist paradise, nothing has been built for 60 years! The Ellis act keeps your thieving paws off of other peoples private property.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 1:13 pm

me the one time I tried it.

My tenant had a 1-BR for $1,200 a month, rent-controlled. Market rent was maybe $2,200 at the time.

I told him that the $1,000 a month subsidy was unacceptable to me and that, moreover, eventually, either I would have to OMI or Ellis him, or a future buyer of the property would. He understood that inevitability.

So I made a proposal that he accepted. I offered him a long-term lease, in this case for seven years. This meant that no OMI, Ellis or other non-fault eviction could take place in that period.

In return, I insisted that that new lease split the difference between his existing rent and the market rent, i.e. he pay $1,700 per month.

Result? We both "saved" $500 a month, and he got security from eviction while I got a rent that was enough for me to want to keep the guy rather than 86 him


Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

threat of eviction is not a "win-win." Your story poignantly illustrates the power disparities between the landed and the landless classes and the ways that greedy people portray their harassment as noble.

Either you rented out the apartment at the going market rent or bought the building with full knowledge of the rents. In any case, there was no subsidy and, most likely, no intention to move into the unit as required under OMI.

A landlord evicted my household with OMI. He never moved into the unit, but put a light on a timer to pretend he lived there. Nine and a half years later, that light still shines every night, long after the time period for any cause for action has elapsed.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

At no time did I threaten an Ellis or other type of eviction. I merely pointed out the rather obvious truth that, the lower your rent relative to the market, the higher the probability that a LL will find some pretext to push you out into the gutter.

Remember, market-rent tenants NEVER get Ellis'ed.

No, this was simply a consensual meeting of minds. He wanted peace of mind, I wanted a reasonable return, and we mutually agreed a compromise.

You know what a compromise is, right? Nobody gets all they want but everyone gets something that they can live with.

Anyway, bottom line, it worked.

Oh, BTW, the reason your previous LL has left the place empty for nearly 10 years is - guess what? - rent control. IOW, he doesn't want to get a life sentence of another loser like you, so simply leaves the place empty. He's making money anyway as it's value compounds.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

"I told him that the $1,000 a month subsidy was unacceptable to me and that, moreover, eventually, either I would have to OMI or Ellis him, or a future buyer of the property would."

I don't know the motivations of my former landlord and neither do you (unless you are him). I do know that he lives with roommates in the larger upstairs unit and that he lied to my face about not evicting us, even feigning friendship two days before having the first legal notices served when he had the opportunity to tell me personally.

Does name calling help cure your seriously troubled and damaged soul? Probably not as you persist month after month.

You know what the law is, right? You spend a lot of time here writing comments about how important it is to enforce every law. Rent control is as much the law as traffic laws. Your hypocrisy and idiocy know no bounds.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

makes you statistically more likely to be OMI'ed or Ellis'ed. I don't think you are stupid. That is simply the obvious reality of such a situation. Market-rent tenants never get Ellis'ed.

I cannot speak to yuor case but, given your comment here, I'd assess your risk of eviction as even higher than the presumed lower rent would imply. If you ran your mouth about your "rights" and the "law" then you might as well pain a big bulls eye on your ass. Toast.

Your former LL (lives with roomates? hmmm) only needs to leave your former unit vacant and get his mail sent there and you have no comeback, even if the SOL hadn't long passed.

If he wanted you gone so much he would forego ten years of rent, you must be one prime asshole.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

You just like to do it. And I'm the asshole?

His choice to evict us had nothing to do with my or my housemate's personalities, but everything to do with his poor business decision making. I don't believe that he intended to evict us when he bought the property, but he worked so slowly on the upstairs unit that he was going to inhabit that he changed his mind and business plan and out we went. I think he owned the place for almost four years before he booted us while he lived in Berkeley with his girlfriend. It was a long time ago so my memory of when he took ownership is a little vague.

His perfectionism and slowness caused him problems and evicting us was his solution. I learned from old neighbor acquaintances that he is a nightmare to live with, and no roommate stays for more than a few months. I saw him giving keys and explaining something to someone when we walked by by chance several weeks ago, so who knows, maybe he's using AirBnB now.

I never had any disputes with him prior to the eviction notice. He fixed the minor condition problems himself in a timely fashion. We always paid our rent on time. What bugged me the most was that he was hanging around a few days before he served us, happened to see me outside, carried on a conversation, and didn't have the decency to tell me person to person that he was going to evict us.

Perhaps you share some of the same character defects. Your commentary here sure supports that hypothesis.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

And evidently you're still sore about it as you keep posting about it.

Here is an idea. Move on. If you want a lifetime residency somewhere then do what the rest of us do - work hard, save money, take risks, buy a home and then you'll never have to worry about this petty shit again.

Too difficult?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 04, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

whenever rents are rising, which is most of the time in SF.

New tenant = a higher rent. Woo hoo.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 1:05 am

and get more rent, i.e. AirBnB.

With rent control, it makes sense to go with short-term and temporary lettings. Visiting tourists, academics and workers, ideally from overseas, always leave and rarely whine about their "rights".

No brainer.

Posted by anon on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 1:30 am

Renting is NEVER meant to add you on title, you whining fool! If you are not on title it is NOT YOUR PROPERTY . The Eliis acts proves this!

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 12:41 pm

in a unit they didn't have to put money into or take a risk on.

They are finding out the hard way that that is never true.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 2:49 pm

The Ellis act is the cure to the theft of private property by the rent control moochers in San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

99% of tenants get a cheaper rent but 1% get evicted. It's like a lottery.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

This is what decades of alleged "progressive" leadership can accomplish. "The Democrat party secured a stranglehold about 60 years ago based on race and has never let go since. You sure can't blame the Republicans, they haven't held the office of Dogcatcher! As things went from bad to worse, the politicians, Democrats all, simply promised more and gave less. Eventually, they didn't even give excuses for the disintegration of city services and the schools. Everybody just accepted that that was the way things were. The various unions were richly rewarded for their loyal support, lots of money, while the workers accomplished less and less. The schools have been dumbed down to the point that today a high school graduate can have the literacy of a 6th grader. In other words, they are functionally illiterate and don't even know it! But they do feel good about themselves. After all, they have a diploma-even if they can't even read it. Until the people, the voters, realize that they have been sold a bill of goods there will be no change in the basic outlook for the future. They will continue, like lemmings, to vote the same way as they always have with the same results. Until outside forces step in and take over, things will continue to deteriorate, although how that is possible is difficult to imagine. The voters have voted themselves into a hell hole of crime, violence and poverty and are too ignorant to understand it. Like an airplane in a death spiral, they will continue downwards until they inevitably crash". It's regarding the bankruptcy of Detroit..

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 9:20 pm

Dear rent control shills. I used to be poor, now I'm rich. It is way better to be rich than poor, I've know having done both. I'm not going to give you that old tired cliché "if I did it you could do it too". Because the truth is, you most likely can't.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 9:38 pm

Tenants get everything they want. Subsidized rent and free legal services.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 21, 2014 @ 8:10 pm

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