SF mayor vows to take local eviction reforms to Sacramento 

click to enlarge Ed Lee
  • David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Ed Lee has stated that he will ask for reform of the Ellis Act.
Mayor Ed Lee on Tuesday advised the Board of Supervisors against pursuing legislation related to tenant “buyouts,” vowing to instead assemble a broad coalition and be in Sacramento stumping for Ellis Act reform.

“All roads lead back to Sacramento on this issue,” the mayor told supervisors during question time. One of the refrains of the ongoing housing crisis is that tenants are reportedly being pressured to accept buyouts. The Ellis Act, a state law, allows landlords to get out of the rental business by evicting tenants with buyouts.

Three times in the past decade, Lee said, the board’s attempts to legislate tenant buyouts were thrown out by the courts. Instead, he said, efforts to protect tenants should be focused on persuading Sacramento lawmakers to change the Ellis Act.

“It’s completely unacceptable when a state law allows real estate speculators to empty long–protected, rent-controlled buildings for their own short-term financial gain,” the mayor said.

Lee said he is working with tenant advocates “and our entire state delegation” on the Ellis Act.

“That’s why you will see me up in Sacramento this year asking lawmakers to make changes to this law so we can end this type of speculation,” Lee said.

Last week, the board approved a resolution backed by the mayor that targets the Ellis Act. It noted that in the past decade, developers produced 1,476 new below-market-rate housing units while there were 1,763 Ellis Act-related evictions.

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