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October trial set for challenge by landlords to SF eviction law

October trial set for challenge by landlords to SF eviction law | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
The ordinance, which took effect in June, requires property owners to pay displaced tenants the difference between their current rent and the amount needed to rent a similar unit at market rates for two years. [...] property owners and the San Francisco Apartment Association argued in a suit filed last month that the new law conflicts with the Ellis Act and is an unconstitutional interference with property rights.
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

A federal judge has scheduled a trial Oct. 6 on a challenge by landlords to San Francisco's ordinance that increases the amounts they must pay to tenants who are evicted when a landlord goes out of the rental business.

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S.F. apartment building locked in tenant eviction legal battle

S.F. apartment building locked in tenant eviction legal battle | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it

Ten steadfast tenants are locked in a legal battle with the owner of one of the most expensive apartment buildings in San Francisco.

On Oct. 6, a judge will hear arguments on the case involving the remaining residents at the Park Lane apartments at 1100 Sacramento St., according to a story on sfist.com.

The tenants are fighting the eviction orders they received from Flynn Investments, the building's owner. The tenants have been ordered to leave by Oct. 24. 2014. 

Flynn Investments bought Park Lane Residences at 1100 Sacramento St. in San Francisco with the plan of pumping $20 million into the property and selling the former apartments as the city's most luxurious and expensive tenancies-in-common. Flynn engaged architects Michael Harris and Greta Carlstrom Design and contractor Stephenson Construction to work on the 33-unit building. The result has been a big payoff with units selling for $2 million to $4 million so far.

Flynn Investments purchased the 33-unit apartment tower in 2011 for $35 million. The firm has done $20 million in renovations, including new kitchens, elevators and plumbing.

At least 15 units have reportedly been sold for between $2 million and $4 million.

The tenants say they are owed compensation under new city rules that took effect on June 1. They say those regulations require landlords to pay evicted tenants relocation allowances equivalent to the difference between current rent and the rent they would pay in a similar apartment for two years, a requirement sflist.com estimates could cost the building owner more than $1 million.


Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

A relocation allowance battle started by the tenants after being sold! These are exactly the type of Landlord-Tenant disputes we handle our clients!

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Mayor Ed Lee announces city loan program to combat evictions

Mayor Ed Lee announces city loan program to combat evictions | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
To address one of the most pressing issues facing San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee announced Monday a city-loan program for nonprofits or property owners to...
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

"the program will "help stabilize what's happening in some of our neighborhoods where long-term rent-control apartments are under challenge by speculators that are buying it up at extreme prices." 


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Campos Wants San Francisco to Regulate Tenant Buyouts by Landlords

Campos Wants San Francisco to Regulate Tenant Buyouts by Landlords | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
Proposed ordinance would reveal true scope of renters' displacement by tracking payments to tenants.
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

“We just believe that two individuals have a right to make a contract between one another,”  Learn more watch our video: http://youtu.be/FNSJHe4k89E

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San Francisco Protesters Are Slapping Neon Green Stickers On Airbnb Rentals

San Francisco Protesters Are Slapping Neon Green Stickers On Airbnb Rentals | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it

ProThey say San Francisco's North Beach neighborhood is losing housing to homemade hotels

Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

Protestors are out in SF pasting stickers on homes that rent via Airbnb, a new bold technique!

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SPOSF Files Suit in Response to Sup. Campos Ellis Relocation Payment Legislation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SMALL PROPERTY OWNERS OF SAN FRANCISCO INSTITUTE JOINS LAWSUIT OPPOSING INCREASED ELLIS ACT RELOCATION PAYMENTS


July 24, 2014 – San Francisco – Today, the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute joined local property owners in filing a lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco. The lawsuit challenges a new ordinance that dramatically increases relocation payments that landlords must give to tenants who are lawfully evicted under the state’s Ellis Act. 
The new ordinance, San Francisco Ordinance No. 54-14, was introduced in February 2014 by Supervisors David Campos, Jane Kim, John Avalos, and Eric Mar.The ordinance passed on April 22and became law. 
Under the ordinance, each relocated tenant will be entitled to the greater of either: a) the existing statutory relocation payment (currently $5,265.10 per tenant up to a maximum of $15,795.27 per unit, plus an additional $3,510.06 for each elderly or disabled tenant), or b) the difference between the tenant's current rent and the prevailing market rent for a comparable apartment, multiplied over a two year period. 
Example: A 35-year-old tenant is evicted from a rent-controlled apartment in Russian Hill. His current rent is $1,000 per month. Market rents for comparable units are $4,000. The relocation payment would be the higher of a) the existing statutory relocation payment of $5,265.10, or b) $72,000 (the difference between the tenant’s current rent and the prevailing market rent ($4,000 minus $1,000) multiplied by 24 months). 
The Ellis Act is a state law that guarantees property owners’ right to go out of the rental business. The new ordinance’s payments effectively prohibit evictions under the Ellis Act, which is illegal under state law. Moreover, the new ordinance’s requirements will be applied retroactively, so a property owner who began an Ellis Act eviction under the old law will now be required to pay dramatically more money to her tenants than she expected. 
The Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute is represented by the law firm of Zacks & Freedman, P.C. A copy of the new ordinance is available at http://zulpc.com/ordinance54-14. More information about the lawsuit is available atwww.zulpc.com.


Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute (SPOSFI)
Founded in 1998, SPOSFI provides owners of small rental properties in San Francisco the tools and information necessary to conduct business successfully in the changing marketplace. Through education programs, publications and workshops, SOPOSFI helps 2,000 members understand their rights and obligations, how to work constructively with government officials, and how to deal effectively with their tenants. SPOSFI is a non- profit organization with a volunteer board. For more information, call (415) 647-2419 or visit  www.smallprop.org.

Small Property Owners of San Francisco
P.O. Box 170669
San Francisco, CA 94117-0669
(415) 647-2419
info@smallprop.org
www.smallprop.org

Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

lawsuit challenges a new ordinance that dramatically increases relocation payments that landlords must give to tenants who are lawfully evicted under the state’s Ellis Act. 

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Sen. Mark Leno abandons bill to curb Ellis Act evictions

Sen. Mark Leno abandons bill to curb Ellis Act evictions | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
State Sen. Mark Leno said Tuesday he is abandoning a bill aimed at curbing the number of Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco after it faced a tough hurdle of passing two committees this week, including one that previously rejected the proposal. The San Francisco Democrat had vigorously fought for SB1439, which was proposed by Mayor Ed Lee, as a way to address the city's whittling supply of affordable housing and skyrocketing rents and property values. The 1986 Ellis Act allows property owners to evict tenants in order to get out of the rental business, but Leno said the law has recently been used by speculators in the city as a way to buy affordable properties, evict tenants and flip a property for profit.
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

SB1439 would have forced property buyers to own a building for at least five years before they could evict tenants using the Ellis Act. The bill did not apply to mom-and-pop landlords. Not anymore. 

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Fighting Tenants Who Fight Eviction - AAOA

Fighting Tenants Who Fight Eviction - AAOA | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
Visit AAOA - the leading resource for rental property management offering the latest news and tips, tenant screening reports, landlord forms and more...
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

Are your tenants facing eviction?  Do you have a tenant that is 'working the system'? What can you do as an owner?  Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHfPLpzbprA

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Judge nixes Airbnb subletter's eviction

Judge nixes Airbnb subletter's eviction | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
A court ruling this week could open the floodgates for Big ­Apple apartment dwellers to sublet via the controversial home-share website Airbnb. The potentially precedent-setting ruling by a Manhatt...
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

"landlords operated under the assumption that tenants profiting off unlawful sublets was a “noncurable” offense, meaning renters could not right the wrong to dodge eviction." 

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Anti-Ellis act bill dealt major blow in Assembly

Anti-Ellis act bill dealt major blow in Assembly | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it

Before a room brimming with property-rights advocates, an Assembly committee today rejected Sen. Mark Leno’s anti-Ellis Act bill.

The Assembly Housing and Community Development Committee voted 4-3 against Senate Bill 1439, possibly sinking the legislation for good.

Helping derail Leno’s bill today were dozens of San Franciscans, many holding up neon paper signs condemning SB 1439. The committee also heard from the California Apartment Association, as well as a landlord whose rights would be undermined by Leno’s proposal.

Despite being amended after narrowly passing the Senate last month, SB 1439 still threatens to greatly weaken landlords’ property rights, taking particular aim at the Ellis Act, a landmark 1985 law that bars local governments from making property owners stay in the rental housing industry.

The bill would force many rental property owners in San Francisco to wait at least five years before removing their units from the market — even if losing money month after month.

Although voting against the bill, the Housing Committee granted Leno reconsideration — meaning he can request another vote. The senator, however, faces some administrative hurdles. To keep SB 1439 alive, Leno would have to obtain rule waivers to get both the Housing and Judiciary committees to meet – and pass his bill — before the Legislature’s June 27 deadline.

It wouldn’t be the first time Leno has exhibited fast political footwork to rescue SB 1439.

The bill was all but dead May 28 when it failed on the Senate floor. The next day, however, Leno promised changes to the legislation, persuading three senators to change their votes and send SB 1439 to the lower chamber.

The amendments that followed would exempt from the five-year ownership requirement an owner who is a “natural person,” owns no more than two properties and no more than four residential units. A natural person excludes family trusts, partnerships and corporations — mechanisms that the majority of small-property owners use to hold real estate.

While the bill would apply only to San Francisco, it could have statewide ramifications. Already, Los Angeles has expressed interest in pursuing similar legislation.

Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

"Helping to derail Leno’s bill today were dozens of San Franciscans, many holding up neon paper signs condemning SB 1439. The committee also heard from the California Apartment Association, as well as a landlord whose rights would be undermined by Leno’s proposal." 

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SF Owner Move-In Deadline 2014 on The Bornstein Minute - YouTube

Bornstein and Bornstein is a boutique law firm with offices in San Francisco and Oakland serving the greater SF Bay Area. Specialities areas include: Owner M...
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

Today is the last to serve an OMI notice in San Francisco, please contact our office ASAP if you need to send one, 415-409-7611

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S.F. mayor calls for huge boost in affordable housing funds

S.F. mayor calls for huge boost in affordable housing funds | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
Mayor Ed Lee is proposing funneling $94 million in public money over the next two years into constructing affordable housing in San Francisco as the city grapples with stratospheric rents and increased evictions driven by a booming economy that is also causing a surge in tax revenue. The mayor, however, is not planning to fund that expansion at the Municipal Transportation Agency by putting a measure on the November ballot to increase the vehicle license fee as a transportation task force Lee assembled last year recommended, said his spokeswoman, Christine Falvey. According to the MTA, the contract called for Muni workers to get 11.25 percent in raises over two years, but they would pick up a 7.5 percent pension payment now paid by the MTA. Renewable energy programThe mayor's budget, which now goes to the Board of Supervisors for weeks of wrangling, did not change Lee's decision to divert $19.5 million that had been on reserve for a renewable energy program the mayor opposes in favor of other efforts, including incentives for property owners to add solar panels. The board sent the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's budget back in protest, but Supervisor John Avalos, a main supporter of the embattled energy program, said a compromise was possible.
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

"This budget will help expedite a number of those affordable projects that are just about at the point of shovels in the ground, but need help over that last hurdle, which in some cases can be financing," Lee said.  

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Realtors' Lobby Helps Quash Anti-Ellis Act Legislation

Realtors' Lobby Helps Quash Anti-Ellis Act Legislation | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
Senator Mark Leno's bill in the California legislature, which would have required building owners to own a building for at least five years before invoking the Ellis Act, failed by a margin of one vote on Wednesday.
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

Sen. Norma Torres, cited what was likely the realtors' argument that it was the city's own fault for not building enough affordable housing, and "asking private owners to foot the bill for something that they have neglected is inappropriate."

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Evictions Soar in Hot Market- NY Times

Evictions Soar in Hot Market- NY Times | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
Fueled by a growing interest in urban living and a shortage of rental housing, rents have risen sharply in cities like Milwaukee and San Francisco and in states like Maine, Georgia and Kentucky.
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

"...economic realities have affected landlords as well as tenants, pushing them to act. The landlord missed rent debt had built up to more than $5,000... “I can’t sustain this anymore,”

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Are All Landlords Who Use the Ellis Act Bad?

Are All Landlords Who Use the Ellis Act Bad? | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
Some 30 protesters marched against Leona Fong’s Ellis Act eviction of 24-year Mission resident Sergio Silva-Lainez last Saturday afternoon, visiting each of the Fong family’s eight properties in the Mission. Chants of “Hey, hey, ho, ho, the Ellis Act has got to go!” erupted from the crowd as it snaked its way through the Mission, delivering certificates of “honorary membership” to the “Mission Bad Landlord Club” at each Fong property. But are the Fongs bad landlords?  The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project’s “Dirty Dozen” list—the Fongs are not on it—is filled with serial evictors (with Ellised buildings ranging anywhere from 10 to 69) who often flip properties for a tidy profit. Other landlords have been targeted for charges that include intimidation of tenants and severe disrepair. The Fongs, on the other hand, have no noted complaints on their properties and are adamant that they plan on moving into the building themselves. They argue ...
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

The landlord issue around Ellis Act evictions is not always black or white or in this case good or bad! 

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S.F.'s answer to housing crisis: Offer loans to buy the buildings

S.F.'s answer to housing crisis: Offer loans to buy the buildings | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
Faced with waves of seniors and other vulnerable residents being evicted as their apartment buildings are sold in San Francisco's tech-fueled housing boom, the city is going to start paying so some people can stay in their homes. Mayor Ed Lee is rolling out a pilot program Monday, apparently the first in the country that will provide city loans to groups like housing nonprofits from an initial pool of $3 million to buy smaller, low-income apartment buildings. The program is designed to give nonprofits the extra boost of funding needed to compete for a building on the open market while making it financially feasible to keep rents low. Owners can make sizable profits selling their old apartment buildings, where longtime tenants are often paying below-market rents because of San Francisco's rent protections, to speculators. Glenda DeVera is surrounded by real estate signs as she stands on the sidewalk in front of the faded Edwardian that houses the one-bedroom apartment she shares with her three children on Natoma Street. Across the street, where a garage once stood, is a bank of modern condominiums the developer bills online as luxury real estate "perfectly located steps from uber-trendy SoMa restaurants" and "techie Mid-Market." DeVera, 45, a Filipina immigrant who works part time as a senior caregiver, has lived in the apartment for more than 11 years with her children: a 21-year-old son who works the night shift at Burger King, a 19-year-old son who attends City College and works part time at a Subway sandwich shop, and a 14-year-old daughter who will start her freshman year at prestigious Lowell High School this month. Other cities, including Chicago and New York, have programs in various stages of development that use taxpayer money to help buy affordable housing.
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

"There are sites that are under extreme pressure, and maybe they've been rent-control units for a long time" 

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San Francisco renters push for crackdown on illegal Airbnb rentals

San Francisco renters push for crackdown on illegal Airbnb rentals | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
Renters in San Francisco are holding protests to call for the city to crackdown on landlords who are taking advantage of the Ellis Act.
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

SF Tenants Union is now staging protests outside of SF Airbnb rental properties, where owners may have utilized the Ellis Act to convert the apts to short terms rentals!

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Airbnb squatter horror story has a Kickstarter twist

Airbnb squatter horror story has a Kickstarter twist | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
The Airbnb and Kickstarter situations underscore the tenuous nature of safeguards in emerging peer-to-peer markets, in which people trust Internet strangers based on reviews by other Internet strangers. [...] Tschogl, a San Francisco rehabilitation therapist for blind and low-vision people, is facing thousands of dollars in legal expenses and an eviction process of up to six months. Maksym Pashanin sent Tschogl texts threatening to press charges against her for blackmail, negligence and malicious misconduct, including his claims that the tap water hurt his expensive espresso machine and exacerbated his brother's ulcer, she said, providing copies of the messages. Tschogl told The Chronicle that the brothers are the renters and provided a copy of Maksym's Airbnb "verified ID" profile, in which he appears identical to the Maksym Pashanin shown in a YouTube video promoting the Kilobite game. "Like any nascent market, the sharing economy is going to generate a flurry of new laws from regulators as well as through civil litigation," said Charley Moore, CEO of San Francisco's Rocket Lawyer. Seen as donationsFor instance, Kickstarter funds are donations, and thus lack the legal protections accorded to investments, he said. Kickstarter policyAt Kickstarter, spokesman Justin Kazmark said its "Trust & Safety" pages outline how it protects the system's long-term integrity, but did not respond to requests for comments on whether the 2,386 people who put up $39,739 for "Confederate Express" could get any money back for a game that doesn't exist.
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

"Businesses like Airbnb, Uber and Kickstarter fall between the gaps of regulations and push the envelope on what is allowed."

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San Francisco landlords sue to stop ‘oppressive’ renter relocation payments - San Francisco Business Times

San Francisco landlords sue to stop ‘oppressive’ renter relocation payments - San Francisco Business Times | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
A San Francisco landlords group will file a lawsuit today to halt a city law that calls for property owners to possibly pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to renters evicted under the state Ellis Act.
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

"Campos’ relocation payment law calls for property owners to pay renters evicted under the state Ellis Act the difference between the tenant’s current rent and what they would have to pay for a similar apartment for two years. Those payments can reach into the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars."

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Salesforce's Benioff and Ron Conway run into the real estate lobby in Sacramento - San Francisco Business Times

Salesforce's Benioff and Ron Conway run into the real estate lobby in Sacramento - San Francisco Business Times | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
Tech lobby influence comes up short against real estate industry's in bare-knuckled Sacramento fight over eviction legislation.
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

"This week that coalition went down in flames in the face of a an opposition front led by the state’s real estate and apartment industries, and Leno’s bill stalled out in an Assembly committee."

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As Ellis Act reform bill faced death, where was Ron Conway?

As Ellis Act reform bill faced death, where was Ron Conway? | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it

One week and one day -- that's how long Sen. Mark Leno has to push his Ellis Act reform bill through two committees in order for it to go before the California Senate, making its prospects for passage this year look dim.

The push would have been easier if it hadn't lost yesterday's vote, 3-4, in the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development. Now the bill's passage is a herculean task that even Leno admits is a tough slog. 

"I'd say it's challenging," Leno told us yesterday. San Franciscans have been displaced by real estate speculators, a dozen or more of whom are regularly "flipping" homes for profit and using the Ellis Act to clean out longtime renters. If passed, the bill would restrict the use of the Ellis Act to those who've owned their homes for five years or longer, allowing property owners to eventually get out of the rental business, as supporters of the Ellis Act say it was intended for. 


"Bill Closing Ellis Act Loophole for San Francisco Fails in Assembly," was the headline of Leno's press release on yesterday's action. But "fails" seems to imply a strong effort that fell short of the mark, when the reality of was that some of the bill's highest profile and most powerful alleged supporters were missing in action: the tech industry and venture capitalist Ron Conway. 

When Leno's Senate Bill 1439 was announced in April, the "Godfather of Silicon Valley" Ron Conway stood before the microphone and cameras and announced the technology industry's intent to protect tenants from being displaced by real estate speculators. Conway is a wealthy "angel investor" who cashed in big on companies like Twitter. Later on, he became Twitter's greatest champion as he smooth-talked San Francisco government into providing big tax breaks to move Twitter into the mid-Market area.

In return, Mayor Ed Lee was counting on Conway and other tech titans to butress the other sectors of San Francisco, and to protect the people who were being evicted en masse. 

Conway pledged as much when his tech group, SF.citi, started a petition drive to support Ellis Act Reform.

Part of the tech backlash occurring in SF right now is due to evictions by real estate speculators. Please help stop evictions in SF by having your Company sign on to the below letter for Senator Leno.

The bill would prohibit rental property owners in San Francisco of less than five years from invoking the Ellis Act, threatening to invoke the Ellis Act, or prosecuting an unlawful detainer (eviction) action based on the Ellis Act. 

Real estate speculators are misusing California's Ellis Act to evict long-term rent paying tenants, who have done nothing wrong but are casualties of a loophole in the Act that must be closed to prevent further displacement. 

The Ellis Act was adopted to allow landlords to exit the rental business, not to give windfall profits to speculators willing to exploit the Act by entering the rental business just to exit it. These speculators are exploiting a loophole in the Act that allows them to buy a building and then immediately "exit the rental business" through mass evictions of low and middle-income tenants. The stories are heartbreaking, with families, seniors, and disabled San Franciscans losing their long-term homes.

We strongly support the passage of SB 1439. 

Ron Conway 

Chairman, sf.citi 


Writing pretty words and posing for pretty pictures seemed to be the extent of Conway's support. Meanwhile, the opposition built up its ranks.

At the committee hearing yesterday, lobbyists on behalf of the California Association of Realtors and very wealthy elderly folks told misleading tales of woe, crowding the room to convince the five California politicians to kill the Ellis Reform bill that would affect mostly just San Francisco.

"What we're trying to do is keep honest, law-abiding San Franciscans in their homes," Leno told the committee yesterday. But that wasn't the committee's concern. Ultimately, they were concerned about the bottom line. As Tim Redmond at 48hillsreported yesterday, Committee Member Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernadino, said her brother told her the bill "is taking my property."

Those who defended the bill were scant: Jeff Buckley of the Mayor's Office, Dean Preston from Tenants Together, Sara Shortt of the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, and Committee Member Tom Ammiano, among others. 

Perhaps having a wealthy tech giant in the room, say, a Twitter representative or Conway himself, may have tipped the scales in Leno's favor. Conway's frequent lunch partner Mayor Ed Lee even sponsored the bill. But still, no tech workers, no tech CEOs, not even someone glued to their iPhone raised their voices to defend tenants at the committee. Not even Conway.

When we called and emailed Conway for a response, all we received was an automatic reply saying "I am currently traveling will read email sporadically during this time."

It's too bad he wasn't traveling to Sacramento.

Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

"What we're trying to do is keep honest, law-abiding San Franciscans in their homes," Leno told the committee yesterday. But that wasn't the committee's concern." 

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Can Tenants can fight evictions and win?

Can Tenants can fight evictions and win? | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it

By Tyler Macmillan


OPINION Every year, around 3,500 formal eviction lawsuits are filed against residential tenants in San Francisco Superior Court. Contrary to popular belief, the eviction lawsuit — known as an "unlawful detainer" — is one of the fastest moving cases in the entire civil system. While we've all heard anecdotes about how it can take years to remove San Francisco tenants from their homes, tenants sued for eviction experience civil litigation at warp speed.

More than a third of those sued for eviction miss the five-day window the law provides to file a response with the court. In 2013, 1,294 of the tenant households that were sued for eviction in the city missed that deadline to respond. The strong tenant protections found in San Francisco's Rent Ordinance and California law don't mean much to those who miss their five-day deadline: Sheriff's deputies clear the property just a few weeks after the case is filed if you don't respond. So much for due process.

Securing tenants due process rights in San Francisco has been our job at the Eviction Defense Collaborative (EDC) since 1996. At our drop-in legal clinic, our team of attorneys and volunteers assist over 94 percent of all tenants who respond to their eviction lawsuit in San Francisco each year. Although our office is open Monday through Friday to help tenants respond to the lawsuit on time, nine out of 10 tenants sued for eviction represent themselves for the duration of their case. Over 90 percent of landlords can afford to hire expert, aggressive attorneys to evict their tenants — very few tenants can afford to hire a private attorney to defend their homes.

Unsurprisingly, tenants agree to move out in most eviction lawsuits — around four out of five tenants sued for eviction will settle the case with an agreement to leave their homes. And who could blame them? The choice of conducting a jury trial against a licensed attorney is not an appealing — or realistic — choice for a self-represented tenant. Without an attorney to stand up and fight for your rights at trial, those rights remain the empty, meaningless promises of the pay-to-play American legal system.

Of course, tenants who get represented by attorneys can win eviction cases — exactly the reason we started our Trial Project at EDC last year. Since the Trial Project launched, EDC staff attorneys have represented a small percentage of tenants facing the prospect of a jury trial on their own. Through the hard work of EDC staff attorneys (who on average earn less than $50,000 a year), the Trial Project enjoyed another jury trial victory in May. While very few eviction cases reach a verdict, this was EDC's third trial victory in the past year.

This particular jury verdict saved the home of a Spanish-speaking couple who has lived in the Mission District for the past 19 years. They have young children who attend the local public schools and attend church in the neighborhood. This family has limited income and would certainly have had to leave of San Francisco if it was evicted, uprooting the children and leaving behind its community.

The landlord had accused the family of not paying the rent — even though the family had repeatedly tried to pay. The jury agreed with the tenant, finding that the conditions on the property were so bad that the landlord wasn't entitled to the rent being demanded. The jury actually followed the law, and reduced the tenants' rent.

The heroes in this case are the tenants — their courage in standing up for their home and their civil rights is inspiring, and should be a lesson to tenants across the city. We need tenants in San Francisco to push back against this current wave of displacement and we're here to help.

Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

Read the many ways tenants fight evictions in SF!  

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Protect the Ellis Act - Send faxes to Housing Committee Members

Protect the Ellis Act - Send faxes to Housing Committee Members | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it

Please help oppose Senator Leno’s SB 1439 restricting the Ellis Act




Senator Leno’s SB 1439, restricting the Ellis Act, will be heard by the Housing and Community Development Committee on Wednesday, June 18th at 9am. SFAA needs your help voicing opposition to this bill, which aims to push the burden of providing affordable housing from the City of San Francisco to small property owners. Please copy the text below and send VIA FAX to each member of the Housing Committee:

Ed Chau (D) – 916-319-2149
Beth Gaines (R) – 916-319-2106
Cheryl Brown (D) – 916-319-2147
Brian Maienschein (R) – 916-319-2177
Sharon Quirk-Silva (D) – 916-319-2165
Mariko Yamada (D) – 916-319-2104

RE: SB 1439 - Ellis Act: OPPOSE – As amended, June 12, 2014

Dear Assembly Member:

On behalf of the members of the San Francisco Apartment Association (SFAA) and California Apartment Association (CAA), I am writing to inform you that SFAA and CAA are still opposed to Senate Bill 1439, your legislation that amends the State Ellis Act and forces rental property owners, with very limited exceptions, to hold their properties for at least 5 years before they can close the building or convert it to owner-occupied housing.

Passed by the State Legislature in 1985, California’s Ellis Act provides that no local government can require a rental property owner to continue to offer his or her housing for rent. Over the years, rental property owners have relied on the Ellis Act in order to avoid the potential for bankruptcy or to move into their own rental units. SB 1439 significantly amends the Ellis Act and creates a host of challenges for rental property owners and their families. These include:

  • Forces Property Owners into Bankruptcy

If SB 1439 becomes law, rental property owners may no longer be able to sell a property, even if they are losing money every month. The Ellis Act is used primarily by small property owners, with duplexes or Victorians, who no longer want to, or can afford to, stay in business. There is no other industry in the United States where a local government can force a small business owner to stay in business against his or her will, even when losing money.

  • Prevents Small Owners from Moving Into Their Own Homes

SB 1439 would prevent owners and families who own small rental buildings from being able to move into their own units. While San Francisco does have an Owner Move-In law, it is so stringent, that the Ellis Act is the only way for an owner or his/her family to move into their building. Under San Francisco’s Owner Move-In law, only one owner per building can move in, and owners must own at least 25%. In addition, there are “protected” classes of tenants who can never be evicted under San Francisco’s Owner Move-In law.

  • Strong Tenant Protections Currently in Place

Current law expressly allows local governments to impose a variety of requirements on owners who desire to exit the rental market, including relocation assistance to displaced tenants, specific notice periods, and deed restrictions. In San Francisco, an owner must pay the difference between the tenant's current rent and what they would have to pay for a similar rental unit for two years. The city estimates this will cost between $40,000‐$50,000 PER UNIT. An owner must also provide tenants with a minimum of 120 days’ notice to a maximum of one-year notice if the tenant is senior or disabled.

  • Fails to Solve Housing Problems and Creates No New Housing

Proponents claim that there has recently been a drastic increase in Ellis Act evictions in the City of San Francisco and blames rental property owners for their housing problems. According to a San Francisco Residential Rent Stabilization Board, there were 192 Ellis Act evictions in 2013. In a city with over 218,000 rental units, that amounts to 0.09% of rental units.

  • Reduces the Value of Rental Property

By limiting the ability of owners and buyers to sell or convert their properties, SB 1439 significantly reduces the value and marketability of a property. Potential buyers who seek to purchase a 2 or 3 unit Victorian and combine units for a home will not buy a property they can’t move into or convert. As a result, an existing owner must continue to lose money each month with reduced options to sell. The bill would create significant disincentives to ownership and investment in smaller rental properties.

  • Changes Rules on Owners who Purchased Within the Last 5 Years

SB 1439 retroactively applies to property owners who purchased their property within the last 5 years. These owners bought a property with the understanding of the current laws at the time. If owners knew that State law would change to drastically affect the value and usability of the property, it’s likely that many of them would not have purchased the property. Retroactively changing the rules of property ownership unfairly punishes those who risked their life-savings to purchase a property.

  • Amendments Fail to Address Concerns Of Small Property Owners

Proposed amendments to SB 1439 exempt a “natural person” who owns no more than two properties and who owns a total of no more than four residential units. The amendments fail to address any of the concerns of small property owners. The majority of small property owners own their properties through family trusts, partnerships, or corporations for various legal and tax purposes. Given the significant liability issues that arise from owning rental property, owners of all sizes are strongly advised by legal counsel to own their properties through a trust or limited liability corporation. They are still very much “natural” people who own small rental properties. Under SB 1439, the majority of small owners would NOT be exempted and would be forced to stay in the rental business and would be prohibited from moving into their own units.

The amendment to SB 1439 that limits the exemption to ownership of no more than two properties and four units is arbitrary. A property owner in San Francisco who owns two other properties anywhere in the state or nation would not be exempted. There is no difference between an owner who owns two properties and one who owns three or four properties. Similarly, owners who own five, six, or seven total units are not generally in the rental housing business full-time and are considered small property owners. Using these arbitrary requirements unfairly penalizes similarly situated property owners.

The new amendments will severely discourage people from building or purchasing more property in San Francisco or elsewhere in the State. An owner in San Francisco who already owns four units would not buy or build more property anywhere in California, knowing that they would then be subjected to the onerous requirements of SB 1439. For a city that clearly needs to build and encourage more housing, SB 1439 does the opposite and will only further exacerbate the city’s housing production issues.

While SFAA and CAA not promote the elimination of rental housing, owners must be given equitable opportunities and solutions to exit the rental market, particularly in jurisdictions where local laws have become overly burdensome to the point that they make it difficult for owners to operate effectively. We stand ready to work with advocates to find ways to encourage more rental housing opportunities instead of misguided approaches that do nothing to create more housing.

The California Apartment Association is the largest rental housing trade organization in the country, representing more than 50,000 owners and operators who are responsible for more than 2 million rental units.

Sincerely,


SFAA will be attending the hearing with a number of small property owners. If you can attend the hearing and show opposition in person, please do. The hearing is Wed., June 18, at 9 a.m. at the State Capitol, Room 126.

Thank you for your time and assistance,

The San Francisco Apartment Association

Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

Oppose the Ellis Act revision SB 1439 - SFAA recommends sending a fax to Housing Committee members. FYI- The hearing is June 18th, 9am at State Capitol rom 126.  

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San Francisco Examiner reporter wins five regional journalism awards

San Francisco Examiner reporter wins five regional journalism awards | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
FOSTER CITY -- The San Francisco Examiner won five reporting awards at the San Francisco Peninsula Press Club's 37th annual Greater Bay Area Journalism Awards...
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

Congrats to local SF Examiner reporter @JessicaGKwong for her journalism award covering the Ellis evictions in SF, we read and share every word!

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S.F. Ellis Act reform bill passes in state Senate

S.F. Ellis Act reform bill passes in state Senate | Eviction Law News | Scoop.it
Sacramento -- - Last-minute negotiating and a couple of promises revived legislative efforts at the Capitol to give San Francisco the ability to curtail the number of Ellis Act evictions in the city. The Senate's approval was a big win for Leno, who has worked with Mayor Ed Lee on a housing bill that would only apply to San Francisco, where evictions driven by an influx of tech workers have led to protests by longtime residents over the city's growing economic inequality. The 1986 Ellis Act allows property owners to evict tenants in order to get out of the rental business, but the law has recently been used by speculators in the city as a way to buy affordable properties, evict tenants, and renovate and flip a property for profit, Leno said. The state Senate had rejected Leno's bill in a 19-18 vote Wednesday night, but Leno promised to make several key amendments Thursday to garner the 21 votes needed to keep the bill afloat before a Friday deadline.
Bornstein & Bornstein + Bay Property Group's insight:

This bill DID pass with last minute negotiations and some private promises in the Capitol!  

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