Watch this depressing time-lapse visualization of Ellis Act evictions

Each red dot represents an Ellis Act eviction. The size of the circle is determined by the number of units.

A series of red circles explodes on the screen, each representing another rental unit where tenants were driven out by an eviction through no fault of their own.

With a new time-lapse visualization of San Francisco Rent Board data spanning from 1997 to August of 2013, viewers can instantly grasp the cumulative impact of Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco.

It was created by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, a newly hatched volunteer effort started to raise awareness about the rising trend of displacement in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Watch it here.

A landlord doesn't need just cause to oust a tenant under the Ellis Act; the law permits a property owner to stop renting units, evict all tenants, and sell the building for another purpose. The recent wave of tech startups and resulting influx of highly paid employees has fueled a spike in Ellis Act evictions as demand for housing has increased.

Working in collaboration with the San Francisco Tenant’s Union, Anti-Eviction Mapping Project volunteer Erin McElroy teamed up with core volunteers Olivia Jackson, Jennifer Fieber and a team of several others to analyze and map data from the San Francisco Rent Board.

The Ellis Act visualization is the first of several planned by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. The size of the circles that pop concurrently with each date corresponds with the number of units displaced.

“We started it with the idea of making a comprehensive map that would show things that weren’t being documented by the Rent Board,” McElroy explained. To that end, the project team has spearheaded a survey to gather data on tenant buyouts, harassment by landlords, rent increases, and bogus attempts to use the Ellis Act to carry out an eviction. The survey is available in Spanish and English, with a Chinese version coming soon. 

“We also want to map where people relocate to, in order to display the current and pending gentrification of other areas – particularly the East Bay,” she added.

In the next few weeks, the team will release maps based on data showing owner move-in evictions and foreclosures.

“We don’t have funding or anything like that,” McElroy explained, but the Tenants Union has allowed them use of its office space for meetings. The effort took several months of research and programming, and the result is a story of the displacement of 3,705 housing units over the course of 16 years – all of which can be absorbed a matter of minutes.


of probably at least 200,000 rent controlled units in SF.

So all this hype and horror and outrage that SFBG vents on this topic is out of all proportion to the actual facts and figures, and a fancy graphic doesn't change that.

Why aren't you up in arms about the far greater number of evictions that occur because of non-payment of rent or breaches of lease? Because that doesn't suit your twisted agenda?

Why the unwarranted mania?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 12:11 pm

There aren't anywhere close to 200,000 rent-controlled units in SF, the actual number is closer to half of that. And it's a dwindling supply compared to the increasing overall housing stock, meaning this steadily becomes a richer and less diverse city. That's the issue, and it's an important one.  

Posted by steven on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

about 100,000? I make it twice that.

If we assume the average household size in SF is two, then a population of 800,000 implies 400,000 housing units.

Exempted from rent control are SFH's, condo's, post-1979 construction and untis owned by non-profits, charities, churches and governments. Are you seriously suggesting that those are 75% of the housing stock?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

I recall a study that reported about 300,000+ total housing units in the city, which implies about 2.75 residents per unit. (There are a lot of studios and 1-bedroom units in the city, but there are even more 1-4 bedroom flats with roommates and families.)

Figure about 35% to 40% of all housing units are single-family homes and owner-occupied condos, leaving about 180-200,000 rental units. Of the rental units, about 1/3 are post-1978 construction, owner-occupied TICs, and exempted units such as public housing.

Some cities have rental registration systems so the number of rental units is readily known; the names of the landlords and their legal agents are readily known; and the city can easily disseminate landlord and tenant regulations to affected tenants and landlords whenever required. These cities obviously have much better information about the number of rental units and the number affected by the rent-control aspect of the rent ordinance.The cities often require an inspection every few years so that any health and safety issues can be identified. SF is long overdue for a landlord regulation process, with modest fees per rental unit to fund the operation.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 6:29 pm

I'd heard that there were 220K rent controlled apartments in the mid 2000s so I'd say there are probably just north of 200K rent controlled apartments now given TICs and condo conversions.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

The difference might be that many units that are currently owner-occupied would be subject to rent control if they were ever rented out, such as TIC's.

But 200K RC units has to be true given that 2/3 of SF'ers are tenants.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

It is time to dramatically lower the cost of almost all housing/renting in San Francisco so that San Francisco residents will spend much more of their income in the local economy (rather than throwing down the rat hole of real estate speculators' bank accounts).

Making housing a low cost human right would create a local economic boom, saving consumers hundreds of millions which they would then spend in the local market.

An important step toward this will be setting up a local public housing bank which could provide low or zero interest loans for housing construction and to fund the takeover of private buildings through eminent domain.

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 9:19 am

Where would these no-interest houses be built?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 9:27 am

and as i said, eminent domain of existing housing would play a big role as well.

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 9:45 am

with a tsunami of eminent domain


Posted by fkgfsd on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:27 am
Posted by fkg on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:36 am

Don't hold your breath.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:38 am

like it's goin' outa style

see if you can get that ball

in the smallest hole

ho ho HO!

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:51 am

there's lots of land and lots of homes

gotta TAKE em

Posted by fkgfsdj on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:26 am

makes the world dumb

Posted by fk on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:37 am

of housing




Posted by fkgfsdju on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:25 am
Posted by f on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 10:39 am

progressives who own property would be happy to "take one for the team". Just to bail out loser renters like you.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 11:24 am

If we were to ever rent out our home, then we'd do the research up front to ensure that we planned for any contingencies. I don't see why anyone else should have to cover poor planning on the part of a property owner.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 11:42 am

having the government take their property, because our Constitution assures that cannot happen, beyond reason anyway.

Since your unit is a condo and condo's are mostly exempt from rent control, you can charge a market rent and raise the rent by as much as you want each year.

So you made a smart choice, and racer hates you for it.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 11:48 am

if our society makes the decision that universal free housing is policy, we can eminent domain multi-unit buildings from their "owners" in a heart beat

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

wholesale goverment takeover of private homes and then you will know how popular such an idea would be.

Hint. Not very. Even renters wouldn't vote for it.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:15 pm

put it on the ballot (instead of just doin' what makes sense)

Posted by ylkdzjhfas on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

And proceed directly to whatever it is that you personally prefer?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

dupey tro skeeballers did a good job of bein' duped and now we are set to go have lunch

thank you for playing

slavehouse skeeball

Posted by dskhjg on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:57 pm

Admitting he was low paid gave it all away.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:02 pm

Not possible. Working at a fast food restaurant requires punctuality and effort.

Posted by Sea Wall! on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:19 pm

the bumps did their job

no need to stay open

unless you want to keep up this silly talk

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:20 pm

the bumps did their job

I am so special

When is the SFBG going to pay me for all I do for them

Posted by Lilli Racer X on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

that skee-ball bumped one more bumper that needed bumpin'

see you after metaphorical lunch time

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

What happens if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it?

Posted by Lilli Racer X on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

the troll that was fooling with the tree gets smooshed


Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 2:27 pm

On the other hand, we are open after hours, after we get back from the Rainbow.

Posted by Lilli Racer X on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

It's clear that we cannot give free homes to everyone. Even under eminent domain you have to buy the properties at a market price, and so there are the same set of costs that a landlord would have, maybe less some profit.

You would probably find that rents would increase if you tried to raise billions to buy these buildings. Your idea is a non-starter and I think you know that.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

the answer is that if it became public policy that housing is a right, the market value of the property would plummet dramatically, and eminent domain of buildings would become very cheap ;)

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

to deliberately devalue properties and then buying them on the cheap.

The courts would reject that.

Of course, the city did manage to pass DBI regs for SRO's that made them so expensive to run that they were sold cheaply to Randy Shaw's mob, who then got rich because a building goes out of rent control when it is owned by a non-profit.

Sorry, racer, but Randy Shaw beat you to it with that game.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

nobody is suing shaw for takings ;)

passing a law making housing a right would not be a taking, because the intent would only be to provide universal housing (not to lower property values)

lower property values would simply be an incidental result of the policy

it's a close call but takings law would not take hold

as it did not with the SRO laws

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

I'll be watching out for it while collecting rents from dreaming burger flippers like you.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

injustice just keeps gettin' peeled away like layers of an onion

Posted by ylkdzjhfasl on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:29 pm

righties just think they got all the rights and don't need no stinking research

Posted by ylkdzjhfasli on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:26 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:33 pm

but slavehouse ski-bal is closed for a late lunch time (bumpin is done)

see you next time, playa

Posted by dskhjgdfi on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:50 pm

I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
I do not know who you are but definitely you're going to a
famous blogger if you are not already ;) Cheers!

Posted by a1travel vouchers on Jul. 09, 2014 @ 10:50 am

falls for anotha lure

hee hee heee

Posted by kjdhgsifhy on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 11:51 am

the cause of the trolls here by making the comment pages unreadable. That's exactly what the paid trolls here want - anarchy that drives away almost everyone.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 11:59 am

tro gets ANGRY about havin his fun spoiled

Posted by bdorgijrlj on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:35 pm

it saves me a lot of effort trying to achieve that same result.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:43 pm

slavehouse skeeball is closed for lunch time

thanks for playing

Posted by dskhjgdf on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

Even though your politics differ, you are both trying to ruin this place.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:04 pm

slavehouse skeeball is still closed up

no lights will flash when you throw

see you under the rainbow

when skeeball opens back up

Posted by racer x on Oct. 21, 2013 @ 1:23 pm

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