Mayor Lee responds to political furor with more funding to fight evictions

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This map of Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco was circulated by the Guardian and other starting in April.

We’re not sure whether it was the high-profile recent protests against the eviction of the Lee family, our well-read “City Hall must address rising rents” editorial or eviction and gentrification coverage last week, our earlier focus on record eviction rates, or just the growing view that City Hall is too friendly to landlords and neglectful of tenants, but the Mayor’s Office has finally awoken to the biggest issue facing this city.

With skyrocketing rents -- and with increasingly common efforts by the landlords of rent-controlled apartments to take advantage of that market by forcing out their tenants -- Mayor Lee this afternoon announced that he’s tripling funding to fight illegal Ellis Act evictions, making populist statements along the way.

Now, spending an additional $700,000 to fight greedy, deep-pocketed landlords is not exactly going to change the playing field, but it’s a nice gesture and an indicator that Mayor Lee is starting to notice the problem. Hopefully, with pressure by progressive politicians and activists, this will be just the first of many such actions.

His press releases follows in it entirety:

*** PRESS RELEASE ***

MAYOR LEE ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR EVICTION PREVENTION IN SAN FRANCISCO

San Francisco to increase resources to support residents and families affected by illegal Ellis Act evictions and releases Eviction Prevention Funding from Housing Trust Fund

San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee announced San Francisco will triple the amount of funding to prevent illegal Ellis Act evictions and that the City will release $700,000 in funding for other eviction prevention services from the Housing Trust Fund.

“San Francisco must remain a viable place to live and work for people at all levels of the economic spectrum,” said Mayor Lee. “That’s why I am providing additional resources to stop unlawful evictions and provide tenant counseling for our residents, so that San Francisco remains a City for the 100 percent.”

The Human Services Agency (HSA) currently provides nearly $8 million in homeless prevention and eviction defense services, an increase of $1.3 million from last year’s budget. In this year’s budget, the City was providing nearly $125,000 to fund free legal advice and represent 55 San Francisco families who have been affected by illegal Ellis Act eviction threats. Today, Mayor Lee tripled the amount of funding with an additional $250,000, which will immediately be available to eligible organizations that provide Ellis Act prevention legal work and will help more families and people at all levels of the economic spectrum remain in San Francisco.

“Providing resources to stop unlawful evictions has proven to be one of the most effective strategies to prevent displacement and homelessness in our City,” said Trent Rhorer, Director of the San Francisco Human Services Agency. “This additional $250,000 will help keep San Francisco families in their homes.”

The Mayor’s Office of Housing will also provide $700,000, from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, to fund tenant counseling services. This is a 63 percent increase in funding and brings the total amount to more than $2.3 million in eviction prevention services from the Mayor’s Office of Housing. These additional resources will be distributed to community based organizations specifically expanding legal representation for individuals facing eviction; rental assistance to individuals and families who are currently homeless or are struggling to keep their current rental housing; and to provide outreach to San Franciscans to better inform them about their legal rights.

The Mayor’s Office of Housing has prioritized eviction prevention services and funds activities including legal services, tenant counseling, rental assistance, move-in assistance, know your rights trainings, and other types of tenant support.  Services are offered through a diverse group of community based organizations that reach San Francisco's many communities including seniors, people with disabilities, immigrants, the homeless and families.

The HSA will issue an ‘Invitation to Bid’ this week so eligible organizations can apply and use the HSA funding to expand their legal services in order for them to be available to vulnerable tenants within 30 days. It is anticipated that the additional HSA funds will help at least 150 households receive legal advice and representation.

 

 

 

 

Comments

The Tenants Union will no doubt be salivating over this "invitation to bid" which has, strangely, been funded by the very developers the Tenants Union spend its time fighting!!

Also - what exactly is an "illegal" Ellis eviction? There's really no defense against an Ellis eviction - neither the city nor the state can force someone to stay in the business of being a landlord.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

it is possible to prevail against them in a rare situation. The paperwork may be technically flawed, in which case a demurrer or similar may prevail. Although the only result of that is a refiled UD complaint. Or

Importantly, even retaliation isnt a defense against Ellis and so assuming the paperwork is correct and complete (and Ellis lawyers are very very good) then the tenants might as well take a deal and walk.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 4:31 pm

believe that. This does nothing more than restore previous funding that was itself proffered as a political gesture to appear to be opposing evictions while in fact letting them go thru.

The EDC and other groups get tenants better payoffs to move out but they rarely if ever prevent an eviction. And indeed there is no defense against an Ellis anyway so it is mostly a matter of trying to secure a better deal than keeping people in their homes.

Rent control has gone too far. That led to the Ellis Act and that in turn led to Ellis evictions. Spin that any way you want but in the end San Franciscans are losing their homes because of rent control.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

is that they've lived in the US for nearly 40 years yet have managed, thanks to taxpayer-supported services in Chinatown, to avoid learning a single word of English during that entire time. They also basically exist on subsidies from the taxpayers - their daughter's care is paid for by the state, they both are on Medicare and receive Social Security income for themselves and SSDI for their daughter, their rent on a two bedroom apartment is subsidized at 1979 levels, their legal battle with their landlord is being paid for by the city and on and on and on.

What a bunch of moochers.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

What that means is that you can show up here, steal rent from your landlord, never work or contribute, and become a parasite.

And the SFBG supports this.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

That's why they collect Social Security now when they are in their 70's and 80's.

Wanna trade your income for theirs? Didn't think so.

Only haters attack people that they wouldn't trade places with.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

save and invest for their retirement. As such, they should reasonably expect to have to move somewhere cheaper in their retirement.

They shouldn't have to move so far - Oakland is a few minutes away and half the price. There are many Asians in Oakland, apparently.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 8:00 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll bumper on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 8:17 am

Only haters attack people who speak the truth.....

Posted by Guest on Oct. 05, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 06, 2013 @ 7:50 am

Have you now added Asians to African Americans, gays, and Latinos to the classes of people you hate? These people are old, they've worked all their lives, they're taking care of a disabled daughter, and you'd have them sleep in the streets. What kind of sick, hateful individual do you have to be to be so heartless? I can only assume it's racism.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

These folks will not be "out on the street". They will simply move somewhere better suited to their budget.

If your only income is social security then you cannot reasonably expect to live in prime Russian Hill, just like I cannot afford to live in Aspen even with an income.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 8:04 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 8:19 am

You'd think he would get it right given that it is all he does all day long.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 8:34 am

Kind of ironic when you think about how ape shit he went when a poster used "bridge" instead of "barrier".

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 8:13 pm
Posted by Danceable Troll Bumper! on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 8:36 am

Wow! Way to state the obvious problem in CA. Rent control is a joke.

Posted by GuestBobby B on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 9:00 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by barrier man on Oct. 10, 2013 @ 9:04 am

Jason Grant Garza here ... yes, I partial agree with Guest. This is just another FLUFF piece that in the END accomplishes NOTHING. As guest stated "And indeed there is no defense against an Ellis anyway so it is mostly a matter of trying to secure a better deal than keeping people in their homes." Lots of EMPTY talk ... NO results ... the old folks will be out!

What is just as amazing is the healthcare DRAMA that accomplished NOTHING and HOLDS NO ONE ACCOUNTABLE .... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cP3jCmJFRo&list=TLxXVJC7I8ExhHEa_sdZTa3... and if you watch the videos NEITHER the Sheriff nor SFPD can ARREST for MEDICAL LAW violations ... again ... TALK , no RESULTS.

It also reminds me of the ???? "UPCOMING HEARING" by Supervisor KIM in regard to FAULTY and INCORRECT police investigations ....http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2013/09/04/kim-calls-hearing-how-sfpd-investigates-cyclist-fatalities and still have not gotten a meeting to provide the EVIDENCE necessary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xtqja9Up02A and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DogpfAUdBg4 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7GI9YAElnk

Shall we judge by RESULTS ...

Keep drinking the KOOLAID.

Shall we by the same token ask the MAYOR in regard to the MISMANAGED public housing that now he is considering giving to a "Private-Public Partnership) ... do not the VICTIMS of the mismanagement deserve PROTECTION?

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 5:33 pm

The problem is lawful Ellis evictions not unlawful Ellis evictions.

Posted by marcos on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

Until then, property owners will continue to have a pass out of being forced to rent properties at a loss.

It's that pesky Constitution and that pesky takings clause again, dammit.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 5:15 pm

It is a corrupt neoliberal mayor trying to cover his left flank by throwing money at ineffective nonprofits to solve something that is not that much of a problem--illegal Ellis evictions.

The reason why a neoliberal mayor would throw money at nonprofits is because the nonprofits are ineffective.

Posted by troll barrier on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

If you want to get something done, enable someone to make a profit from it.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 5:49 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 7:19 am

Landlords do quite well in SF without needing to invoke the Ellis Act. It's speculators who want huge $ overnight that use Ellis.

The constitution and the takings clause you reference have nothing to do with these evictions. In fact, the Ellis Act was passed after the CA Supreme Court made clear that there was no constitutional right to kick everyone out of a building to go out of the rental business.

Posted by Dean on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

Speculators are responding to demand. As the local economy improves, San Francisco residents who want security and equity seek to own - not rent. And although TICs are less than ideal, for the growing number of affluent residents, it is still a better option than renting.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 10:01 pm

"it is still a better option than renting."

I know that you despise rentals and people who rent, but...

Reading that nose in the air pretentious trash, I guess that one of the major condo buildings being built now is going to remain empty because it's going to be a rental only building at around $3-4,000 a month per condo, from what I was told by a local homeowner who lives in the area who had info on the building.

The local economy improving? What drugs are you on? Do you ever get out and look around, EVER? Get off of rosyworld dot com and see what's really going on out there. The only economy that is improving is for your beloved one-percent, but not for anyone else. Every store owner I've talked with tells me how terrible things are and they go out of their way to thank me for coming in, they tell me how sales are dismal, and how someone's business is near closing and then you come on here with this utopia-world shit as you cheerlead for your snooty so-called "affluent."

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 10:52 pm

Correction:

The rental prices are $3,000-10,000/month per condo and the starting price of $3,000/month is for a small one-bedroom. They're not even calling them "Luxury Designer Homes" but rather "Residences."

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 1:41 am

You can fill any vacancy within a few days if the rent is "at market". A few thousand a month in rent isn't a big deal to a couple both making six figures in tech or finance.

If there was such a thing as a rental building that couldn't fill its units, then either the rents would drop or they would instead be sold to owner-occupiers, whehre demand is even stronger.

If you think the economy is doing badly, then you are the one walking around with your eyes shut. High rents and home prices can only happen when the economy is doing well. But that doesn't mean that everyone does well - there will always be poor people as well - doesn't mean the good times are not here.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 5:52 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 7:20 am

With multiple bids over asking.

I'm not seeing quite the same mania for rentals but probably because landlords have already raised their rents to market anyway. But places are renting at these rents - people have money and they want to live in SF.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 7:58 am

Newly built multi-unit buildings are "mapped" for condo sales during the planning approval process, but are typically rented out for the first 10 years or more. Under state law building construction liability lasts for 10 years and renters are much less likely to file a lawsuit for any building defects.

Condo owners have a strong vested interest in their unit since it cost so much. If any problems arise in the building during the first 10 years after construction, the condo owners will look to sue the builder to fix the problems. Condo owners can split the cost of the lawsuit since they all have a vested interest in a favorable judgement. Tenants, on the other hand, tend to move every few years. If they find a problem with the building they will often just move out rather than sue the owner/builder. And the potential damage award to a tenant is apt to be much lower than for the condo owner. Thus, in most cases, new buildings are often rented out for many years before being sold as condos.

Many of the larger residential buildings are financed with insurance money, or public emplyee pension money, or money borrowed from a hedge fund. The lenders agree to loan the money for at least 10 years knowing they will get a nice interest return and a potential profit kicker when the units are sold as condos and the construction loans are paid off.

And the other poster is right: there are literally thousands of people in the Bay Area currently looking to rent and/or buy in SF. Many of them have high-paying jobs in one of the many, many large multi-national companies located in the Bay Area, or they work as professionals in medicine, law, finance or other jobs where they make 6-figure incomes, with a 3, 4 or 5 often as the first number. Even if current SF rents or house prices reduce by 10% or even 30%, they will continue to be way too expensive for a majority of the people who live in the Bay Area. The governments in the US and most other countries favor specuators and landlords over tenants, even speculators who aren't even full-time residents.

Whoever thinks renting is a solution to long-term housing stability either supports the current feudal structure of the inherently hostile landlord-tenant economic relationship, or they have a paternalistic attitude that tenants need their kindness. Instead they should be fighting to build more housing that is owned and controlled by former tenants that will stay permanently affordable to future residents. Private landlording is so 16th century you'd think the paternalistic and divisive institution would be long past by now.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

easily and entirely possible under the current laws, and in fact there are a number of such shared housing communities in SF and Berkeley.

All it takes is for someone to buy a house and create a shared community out of it - there are lawyers who specialize in drawing up such contracts.

Ironically they are exempt from rent-control because they operate as a non-profit.

But anyway the point is that we do not need a change in the law to run the model you advocate. you can do it now. What are you waiting for?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

easy to do that. In fact I have known cases (usually two-unit buildings) where the tenants are paid off, owners move in, condo convert via the lottery bypass, and then turn around and re-rent the units without rent control.

Perfectly legal.

Posted by anon on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 12:25 pm

With Ellis it's a no-brainer because no tenancy is safe. Or rather, no tenancy is safe unless you pay a market rent.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 8:02 am

San Diego and the court ratified the right of a property owner to go out of the business of renting out his property. The Ellis Act then followed to ensure that that right was enshrined in statute.

The Ellis Act was a direct response to cities taking rent control too far and seeking to compel landlords to rent properties out at a loss.

Whether or not SF LL's "do quite well" is neither here nor there. The issue is whether they can be forced to subsidize tenants, and whether they can be denied a more profitable use for their properties.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 5:48 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 7:40 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 8:31 am

A good political move... but unfortunately, it won't stop the evictions.

There's just too much incentive to convert to TICs and not enough incentive to remain in the rental business when property owners have low-paying, long-term tenants.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 30, 2013 @ 9:30 pm

You don't even need to remodel the units. There are guys out there who just buy, Ellis and sell, leaving the next owner to remodel and sell as TIC's.

I'm seeing this a lot. Landlord A gets sick of the low rents and sells the building to Investor B, who Ellis's and then sells to Developer C, who remodels, creates a TIC agreement, and then sells to the TIC owners D, E and F.

Everyone wins, including the city which collects three lots of transfer tax and higher property taxes. The dirty secret is that the city needs those dollars and so loves these deals even while publicly complaining about them.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 5:56 am

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 7:22 am

you get your capital back much more quickly, enabling the next deal.

Wash, rinse, spin, repeat.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 9:33 am

Everyone wins except the evictees.

Posted by Hortencia on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 12:49 pm

The mayor and Board of Supervisors have never built any new housing to accommodate the evictees from housing conversions since most evictees don't qualify under any of the housing subsidy programs. The government leaders are smart and know the evictees will likely move out of the city since current housing prices are only affordable to a small percentage of Bay Area residents and very few middle-income tenant familes will commit 65% of their income just to rent an apartment in the city. The politicians are good with words - and words don't cost anything - so they can mewl a few sentences every now and again about how "painful" it is to see residents being evicted from their homes, but without a committment to build thousands of new housing units to accommodate the displaced tenants, the politician's words are cheap and meaningless.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 1:14 pm
Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 1:43 pm

living in a place more fiscally suitable, and therefore more sustainable.

They can also hold their heads up high, knowing that they are no longer reliant on handouts and subsidies.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

apartments received neither handouts nor subsidies, unless they have a Section 8 voucher which is very unlikely in San Francisco.

Don't waste the energy you need for groveling up to your economic betters and masters on disingenuous statements like evictions are good for evictees.

Keep it up and the victims of economic terrorism will hold your head up high and it won't be for pride.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

It's the subsidy provided by their landlord and equal to the difference in rent between the restricted rent and the market rent.

And yes, tenants often get payouts or moving expenses when they are evicted as well.

So they really cannot complain.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 4:41 pm

this is simply a troll barrier

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into reactionary hyperbole and/or petty, mean spirited, personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by troll barrier on Oct. 01, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

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