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San Francisco evictions continue to rise each year since 2010

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Despite efforts by city officials to protect tenants from losing their homes, overall evictions continued to increase. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

As real estate prices have soared amid San Francisco’s technology boom in the past six years, so have evictions.

Despite efforts by city officials to protect tenants from losing their homes — including lobbying for reform of the state Ellis Act that allows landlords to evict tenants to take units off the rental market, regulating tenant buyouts and strengthening nuisance eviction protections — overall evictions continued to increase.

The latest annual eviction report released this month by the San Francisco Rent Board shows evictions continued to climb each year since a 13-year low in 2010, when evictions totaled just 1,269. That’s far below the 2,878 evictions during the height of the first dot.com boom at the turn of the 21st century.

San Francisco has yet to reach that peak year in terms of evictions, but each year since 2010, The City has gotten closer.

eviction chart

“The housing crisis continues,” said Tommi Avicolli Mecca, director of counseling programs for the Human Rights Committee, a tenant advocate group. “It’s still with us. There’s still this speculating going on. I don’t see things changing.”

There were 2,376 evictions filed with the Rent Board between March 2015 and February 2016, according to the March 8 annual eviction report. The total is actually 2,134, because 242 evictions were for one day of asbestos abatement in a single apartment complex, the report said. Still, that’s an increase from last year’s 2,120 evictions.

Evictions filed using the Ellis Act increased from 113 to 154 between the March 2014 to February 2015 and March 2015 to February 2016 period. Other significant increases include owner move-in evictions, which rose from 343 last year to 417.

San Francisco rents remain among the highest in the U.S., with one bedroom apartments renting for $3,096 a month on average and two bedroom apartment rents averaging $4,126, according to RentJungle.com, a real estate data website.

City leaders previously attempted to change the Ellis Act state law but failed to gain traction. Locally, efforts like increasing relocation fees for tenants evicted under the Ellis Acts were attempted.

Another anti-speculation effort, brought to voters in 2014 and known as Proposition G, failed as real estate interests spent more than $1.8 million against the measure. It would have imposed a tax on buildings that were purchased and sold within five years.

Mecca said one local law seemingly has had success in curbing some evictions. Supervisor Jane Kim’s eviction protection legislation, approved by the board last year, took aim at evictions for minor offenses. Nuisance evictions decreased from 401 in last year’s report to 348, and breach of rental agreement evictions from 738 to 620.

San Francisco has also begun tracking tenant buyouts for the first time, which some tenant advocates view as another type of eviction. A buyout is when a tenant agrees to vacate a unit for an agreed upon sum from the landlord.

Between March 2015 and December 2015, there were 195 buyout agreements filed with the Rent Board and 506 intentions to enter buyout agreements. The neighborhoods where most buyouts occurred include the Mission at 32, followed by Eureka Valley and Western Addition at 20. There were 15 buyouts recorded in Haight-Ashbury and 13 in the Tenderloin.

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  • ErikKengaard

    The result of overpopulation. The supply of land is limited. The supply of people is not.

  • monsoon23

    End rent control and there’s 50,000+ vacancies.

  • BFlatlander

    Too many critters.

  • Zippster

    Real estate prices have soared amid San Francisco’s technology boom AND because of DIRTY CHINESE MONEY.

  • Zippster

    I know people who live in the Mission and pay only $300 in rent. They have lived there since the 1970s.

  • c in sf

    The tiresome part of these articles which attempt to focus attention on evictions, but they fail to mention is 2/3s of the evictions are for “cause” evictions, e.g. breach of lease agreement,non-payment, etc.
    And the majority of the remaining 1/3 is basically the new/old owner choosing to owner move-in, demolish, improve, condo, or go out of business, OVER subsidizing housing for the existing tenant. The last option is not very attractive…
    So the property owner is painted as the bad, greedy guy and the city legislates to prevent all evictions..

  • Deborah Carleton Rio


  • omegatalon

    Evictions have been increasing because of San Francisco’s rent control laws which limit the amount of rent a property owner can raise rent; if the city relaxed the law a bit or allow higher increases, there would be less need for evictions.

  • ErikKengaard

    Would there be an eviction problem if California’s population were 15 million instead of 38 million?