Supervisors committee supports legislation to give relief to Ellis Act evicted tenants

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images file photoA large 'rent' banner is posted on the side of an apartment building on June 15

Unemployment in San Francisco is down near pre-Great Recession levels, but not all residents are cheering. Many have been losing their homes from Ellis Act evictions and been forced to leave town amid an affordability crisis.

The increasing number of Ellis Act evictions, allowed under a state law allowing landlords to evict tenants to get out of the rental business, is among a series of impacts attributed to a rebounding city economy buoyed by a flourishing technology industry.

To bring relief to these evicted tenants — some who are seniors, long-term renters and on fixed incomes — The City will give them the first crack at city-subsidized housing units under legislation approved Monday by the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee.

“It’s important to do all that we can to protect the economic diversity of our city to make sure that everyone who wants to live here and who has had a stake in our city for decades gets to continue to live in San Francisco,” said board President David Chiu, who introduced the legislation.

Supervisor Scott Wiener said the legislation would also help relieve the anxiety of those who are currently living in rent-controlled apartments and worrying that at any moment they too will receive an eviction notice.

The legislation, which takes aim specifically at Ellis Act evictions, is welcomed by Ellis Act notice recipients such as retired City College of San Francisco teacher Marla Knight, who is losing her apartment on the 500 block of Lombard Street.

“I’ve been looking for housing,” said Knight, who is a volunteer tutor at the Telegraph Hill Community Center. “On my pension, I can’t afford anything in The City. I am on the waiting list for senior housing in Petaluma.”

The full Board of Supervisors is expected to approve the legislation today.

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