Mirkarimi joins protesters, blasts Ellis Act evictions

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A city supervisor lambasted building owners Thursday who invoke the power of a controversial state law that allows for the eviction of renters.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi joined more than 20 protesters gathered Thursday outside of Frank Howard Allen Realtors’ office on Fulton Street to sound off against the real estate company, which is evicting renters from its seven-unit apartment building at 1530 McAllister St. by using the Ellis Act.

The act, which became state law in 1986, allows building owners to get out of the rental business by evicting tenants. Proponents say the law creates more homeownership opportunities and protects the rights of property owners.

The “misguided” law results in “kicking out those who are vulnerable,” such as seniors and children, said Mirkarimi, whose district includes the McAllister Street building.

Mirkarimi has also authored two resolutions in an attempt to diminish the authority of the Ellis Act. These resolutions come before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. One urges the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department to no longer enforce Ellis Act evictions. The other resolution asks the Sheriff’s Department to begin recordingwhich of the evictions it oversees are Ellis Act evictions. To date, the department’s records do not specify the eviction type.

As The City’s real estate market has improved over the last two years, Ellis Act evictions have increased, with 286 units in 2004 and 299 units in 2005, according to the resolution.

David Weingarten, who has lived with his wife and two kids at the McAllister building for the last 12 years, found out on April 1 that he had 120 days to leave what he called home.

“If we lose our apartment that most likely means we have to leave this area. We are a working family. We can’t afford to live in the area.”

Weingarten’s rent has remained at an affordable level through rent control laws.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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