Newsom: I will veto tenant eviction legislation

Mayor Gavin Newsom will veto legislation that would make it tougher for landlords to evict tenants living in an estimated 20,000 rental units in The City, according to the Mayor’s Office.

The legislation, introduced by Supervisor John Avalos, would amend The City’s rent control ordinance so that units built after 1979, which are currently exempt from rent control, would be covered by so-called “just cause” eviction protections.

The rental control protections established in 1979 say landlords can only evict tenants based upon 15 “just cause” reasons – among them nonpayment of rent, breach of lease and illegal activity inside a unit.

“Tenants who find themselves in buildings built after 1979… can be easily evicted,” according to The City’s Housing Rights Committee.

Proponents say it is unfair for renters in The City to be “totally unprotected from arbitrary evictions,” particularly in these tough economic times.

Critics say the majority of apartment buildings in The City were built prior to 1979 and that the legislation would primarily impact homeowners. The proposal would make it next-to-impossible for property owners to move back into their unit after renting it out, they said.

Opponents said the legislation would also stifle new construction in The City.

On Monday, the Land Use & Economic Development Committee voted to send the legislation to the full board for a vote Tuesday.

“If what came out of committee today reaches the mayor's desk, he will veto it,” said Joe Arellano, Newsom’s spokesman.

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