Controversial tenants rights ordinance passes on
Retroactive clause amended to May 1, 2005
By Aldrich M. Tan
May 10, 2006
The Board of Supervisors passed an amended version of an ordinance
that prohibits condominium conversions for buildings that have
evicted tenants after May 1, 2005, on first reading at Tuesday's
Sponsored by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, the original ordinance
prohibits the Department of Public Works from authorizing the
condominium conversion of buildings that have had more than two
evictions on and after 1999 or evictions specifically of seniors
and disabled people. The revised ordinance will affects buildings
that have had evictions after May 1, 2005, deputy city attorney
John Malamut said.
The approved amended version of the ordinance will affect 3/4s
of local tenants who were evicted last year through the Ellis
Act, a state law that gives landlords unconditional rights to
evict all of their tenants to change the use of the building,
said Ted Gulickson, manager of the San Francisco Tenants Union.
A large number of evictions occurred after "Pieri v. the
City and County of San Francisco" which ruled on April 25,
2005 that expanding relocation payments to all tenants evicted
under the Ellis Act, rather than solely elderly and disabled people,
violated the Act itself, Gulickson said.
"This measure is going to have an immediate impact on ongoing
evictions," Gulickson said. "We will see a reduction
of the Ellis Act and even the withdrawals of certain evictions
from last year."
Over 650 local tenants were evicted last year through the Ellis
Act, Gulickson said
The ordinance initially failed with 5 to 5 vote. Supervisors
Michela Alioto-Pier, Tom Ammiano, Chris Daly, Fiona Ma, Sean Elsbernd
voted against the legislation. Peskin then motioned to rescind
Elsbernd said he has specific problems with the amended legislation,
specifically the last two sections of the revised legislation.
Buildings that issued eviction notices not specifically to seniors,
disabled or catastrophically ill are eligible for conversion ten
years after the last eviction from the building.
"I thought the point of this legislation was to serve as
a stick and not as a carrot," Elsbernd said.
Supervisor Bevan Dufty said he supports the amended legislation.
"The reality of the city's market is that we have to take
a step to encourage good behavior and show that Ellis evictions
are not the best way to establish homeownership," Dufty said.
"I advocate for home ownership, but not homeownership at
Supervisors Ammiano, Daly and Sophie Maxwell requested to be
listed as co-sponsors of the revised legislation before the re-vote.
The legislation itself passed 8 to 2 and the legislation as amended
passed 7 to 2. Elsbernd supported the original legislation and
joined Ma and Alioto-Pier against the amended legislation.
Wade Crowfoot, Mayor's Liaison to the Board of Supervisors, said
legislation's the retroactivity clause of 1999 was the mayor's
"Those concerns have been ameliorated through this amendment
and we are comfortable with supporting it," Crowfoot said.