Supervisors outfox landlords on eviction compensation measure UPDATED

Pub date April 16, 2014
SectionPolitics Blog

When the San Francisco Board of Supervisors gave final approval yesterday [Tues/15] to legislation that would substantially increase the payments landlords are required to give tenants they evict using the Ellis Act, the supervisors made a key change designed to counter a recent eviction push by landlords.

The legislation, approved on a 9-2 vote with Sups. Mark Farrell and Katy Tang opposed, increases the current required relocation payments of $5,265 per person or $15,795 per unit (plus an additional $3,510 for those with disabilities or over age 62) up to the equivilent of two years rent for a comparable unit, which means tens of thousands of dollars.

For example, the Controller’s Office calculates that a family evicted from a two-bedroom apartment in the Mission District where they pay $909 per month would be entitled to $44,833 in relocation costs.

The legislation was originally scheduled to go into effect 120 days after passage in order to give city officials enough time to implement it. But after sponsoring Sup. David Campos heard that landlords were rushing to evict tenants before those fees went up, he checked in with the City Attorney’s Office and other departments to see whether they could be ready sooner. And after getting the greenlight, he amended  the measure yesterday to go into effect 30 days after it’s enacted into law.

The question now is whether Mayor Ed Lee, who has not taken a position on the legislation, will act quickly to sign it. He has 10 days to decide, and given that the legislation was approved by a veto-proof majority, the question is really whether the mayor will support stalling the inevitable, thus encouraging more evictions at lower levels of relocation assistance.

But Mayor Lee has publicly touted his concerns about the eviction epidemic and support for Sen. Mark Leno’s Ellis Act reform legislation, SB1439. So I’m sure Lee is warming up his pen and preparing to sign the measure as I write this, right? We’ve got a message into his office with that question and I’ll update this post when we hear back.

UPDATE 4/18: Christine Falvey, the mayor’s press secretary, just finally responded to our inquiry and said, “The Mayor is reviewing and considering this legislation. I will keep you updated.” Apparently, he doesn’t feel the same sense of urgency that supporters of the measure feel. 

UPDATE 5/6: Mayor Lee waited 10 days and then allowed the measure to become law without his signature.