Tenant advocates in The City and across California are pushing reform of the state Ellis Act, and while the specifics of a bill have yet to be ironed out, an online petition has already gained traction.
The petition available at http://bit.ly/reformellis launched by Tenants Together, a statewide renters' rights organization, had gathered 1,176 signatures as of Thursday evening.
"This really is a first step in what will be a full campaign this year to reform the Ellis Act," the organization's executive director, Dean Preston, said of the law that allows landlords looking to get out of the rental business to evict tenants.
Considering the petition spread mostly within the organization's members starting Nov. 21, Preston called the signatures a "significant number."
"We're seeing mostly folks in San Francisco signing," he said. "But also in the East Bay and Southern California, and in other areas in the state that are hit hard by Ellis Act evictions, or folks who are just signing in solidarity."
Mayor Ed Lee, along with Supervisors David Chiu, David Campos and Malia Cohen, plans to introduce a resolution at Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting supporting amendments to state law to return the Ellis Act to local control.
Exact reforms are still under discussion, Preston said, but what is clear is that the bill would target the use of the Ellis Act by real estate speculators and attempt to give cities power to prevent them from doing so.
State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is among potential legislators who have indicated interest in authoring the reform legislation, according to Preston.
The organization hopes to gather between 5,000 and 10,000 signatures by late February, the deadline for bill introductions.