Tenant rights advocates gathered outside San Francisco City Hall today to call for more protections against what they said is an eviction epidemic in the city.
The eviction of tenants via the state’s Ellis Act, which allows landlords to remove residents if the property is being taken off the rental market, has been “exponentially higher than previous years,” said Omar Calimbas, a staff attorney with Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus.
More than 280 apartment units have been given Ellis Act notices since May 2012, according to the advocates, which included the San Francisco Tenants Union, the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco, the Tenderloin Housing Clinic and the Chinatown Community Development Center.
The groups delivered an action plan to City Hall officials on how to reduce the number of evictions, including proposals to strengthen existing rent control protections and increase support for victims of Ellis Act evictions, Calimbas said.
He said the rise in evictions has been tied to the sharp increase in housing prices in San Francisco since early 2012, when national housing prices also started going up.
“The housing market here is always going to be much more pronounced than what is happening nationally,” Calimbas said.
He said today’s event comes after the Lee family, an elderly couple and their disabled daughter living at Jackson and Larkin streets, were evicted earlier this week in an Ellis Act case.
“What the Lee family is going through shouldn’t need to have happened,” he said.
“They’ve lived here for decades and should have been allowed to retire here with dignity,” he said. “What happened instead was their forced removal from their home, and now instability and relocation.”
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News