According to the the San Francisco Rent Board, the number of Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco declined by almost 50% last year. However, the number of for-cause evictions rose by 7%.
Here’s the data from the Rent Board’s 2015 Annual Eviction Report (PDF):
The report also provides this citywide summary:
During the period from March 1,2014 through February 28, 2015, a total of 2,120 eviction notices were filed with the Department. This figure includes 145 notices given due to failure to pay rent, which are not required to be filed with the Department. The number of notices filed with the Department this year represents a 7% increase from last year’s total filings of 1,977. The largest percentage increase was in eviction notices for illegal use of a rental unit, which increased from 42 to 91 notices. Owner/relative move-in eviction notices increased from 273 to 343 notices. Breach of rental agreement notices increased from 607 to 738 notices. Unapproved subtenant eviction notices increased from 17 to 20 notices, and nuisance eviction notices increased from 349 to 401 notices.
Closer to home, Beyond Chron tells the story of some Bernal Heights neighbors on Ellsworth (near Cortland) who were able to successfully resist an attempted Ellis Act eviction :
New owners of 261-261A Ellsworth Street purchased the property in February 6, 2015. Ten days later they served the long-term tenants, including 82 year old Alberto Lopez, with Ellis Act notices of termination.
On March 31, 2015, the Tenants’ attorney, Raquel Fox of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, provided formal notice of entitlement to an extension of the notice period based on Alberto Lopez and his wife’s senior ages. On April 19, 2015, the Landlords’ lawyer told Fox that the new landlords were rescinding the Ellis Act. The communication included a copy of the Request for Rescission of Ellis Act Notices. On April 20, 2015, the Tenants executed the Declaration of Tenants Continued Occupancy.
The quickness of the Lopez victory means it will not join the ranks of other high-profile Ellis Act evictions. But it sends another message that Mayor Lee’s tripling of Ellis eviction defense funding has had a huge impact. These tenant legal victories show that Ellis cases are not a slam dunk, and help slow the current rising tide of such actions.
At 3301 Cesar Chavez, tenants in the 12-unit building near South Van Ness received Ellis Act eviction notices in February. “I’ve lived through six different owners of this building,” said Doña Margarita, a senior who has rented in the building for 52 years. “Because of my age, I can’t just live anywhere.”
Beyond Chron reports that the building at 3301 Cesar Chavez is owned by Robert Imhoff, a property-owner with a rather long history of eviction attempts.
Hovering over all of this is the fact that San Francisco added more than 11,000 new residents in 2014 alone, as the City’s population has soared to new all-time highs. San Francisco’s unemployment rate stands at a 15 year low, but we’ve been running a chronic housing deficit since the 1990s. Oh, and San Francisco rents are currently the highest in the nation.
How can we reduce evictions and improve affordability in the long term? More housing please!
PHOTO: 261 Ellsworth via Google Maps.