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Eviction bill appears doomed

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A new law that extends eviction protections to all renters in San Francisco was approved Tuesday, but Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to successfully veto the bill.

The legislation, introduced by Supervisor John Avalos, extends the eviction protections in place for those living in units built prior to June 1979, as they are covered by The City’s rent control ordinance, to those units built afterward.

The hotly debated proposal was praised by tenant advocacy groups for eliminating arbitrary evictions and bringing equality to renters. About 60 percent of those living in San Francisco are renters.

But landlords blasted the proposal for adding restrictions to their properties, and warned some owners will simply decide not to rent out their units.

The legislation was approved Tuesday by the Board of Supervisors in a 7-4 vote.

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Avalos said it was meant “to ensure equal protections for tenants in all rental buildings and rental units in San Francisco. This legislation is about fairness,” he said.

The Housing Rights Committee, a tenant advocacy group, had said the protections are increasingly important, with ongoing construction that will result in thousands of new rental units.

Landlords with units built prior to June 1979 must have a “just cause” reason to evict a tenant. There are 15 acceptable reasons, including  not paying rent, to perform lengthy capital improvements, to allow the owner or family members to move in and breach of rental agreement. It’s estimated there are between 16,000 and 23,000 post-1979 units, many of them condominiums, in The City.

Newsom has promised to veto the legislation. It takes eight votes by the Board of Supervisors to override a mayoral veto, so the legislation appears doomed.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who often casts the key vote that determines if a bill is veto-proof, voted against the legislation. Dufty said there was no compelling evidence of an “eviction crisis” in post-1979 buildings, and he’s “never comfortable when the board is legislating to the extremes in landlord-tenant relationships.”

He also said if owners of condos wanted to move back into their units and had to evict tenants, they could face costly legal challenges.

The legislation will undergo a second and final vote next week, then Newsom has 10 days to veto it.

 

In other action

  • Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi introduced a hearing request to address the backlog at The City’s crime lab that processes DNA and other evidence for homicide cases.
  • Supervisor David Campos introduced legislation that would establish a 13-member Medical Cannabis Task Force to advise the Board of Supervisors.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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