Leno declines to seek reconsideration of Ellis Act reform bill

The Ellis Act reform bill introduced by Sen. Mark Leno, D-S.F., will not be moving forward this year.

“While I remain committed to closing the loophole in the Ellis Act that allows real estate speculators to evict longtime San Francisco tenants, SB 1439 will not be moving forward this year,” Leno said. “The bill failed to clear a key Assembly committee last week, and has stalled due to legislative deadlines.” 

The proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1439, sought to limit evictions in San Francisco by requiring new property owners to wait five years before invoking the Ellis Act, a state law that allows a landlord to evict their tenants if they intend to leave the rental business. 

The fate of SB 1439 seemed uncertain after it failed to pass the California Assembly Housing Committee last Wednesday in a 3-4 vote, but was granted reconsideration. Today, Leno's office confirmed that the senator will not bring the bill back to the committee for a second vote. 

The bill had stalled before in the State Senate, but moved forward to the Assembly after a similar reconsideration process. 

However, a reconsideration by the Assembly Housing Committee may not have been enough to save the bill, the Bay Guardian reports — even if the bill passed the committee, Leno would still have been left with little over a week to push the bill through two more committees to reach the Assembly floor. 

SB 1439 was supported by Mayor Ed Lee; sf.citi, a coalition of Bay Area tech companies; and Tenants Together, an advocacy organization. It was opposed by the California Apartment Association and the California Chamber of Commerce. 

“I am profoundly disappointed that the Assembly Housing Committee failed to pass critical legislation that would help mitigate the negative impacts of a recent surge in Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco,” said Leno in a statement following the Assembly Housing Committee vote. 

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