Ellis Act Reform NOW

California State Legislature

Since its passage in 1985, the Ellis Act has enabled speculators to displace long-term tenants and eliminated thousands of units of rent-controlled housing. Between 1994 and 2020, over 5400 households have been forced out of their homes in San Francisco. In Los Angeles, over 27,000 rent-controlled units have been taken off the market due to the Ellis Act, displacing over 60,000 residents.

The COVID-19 tenant protections have still not brought an end to these evictions. The Tenderloin Housing Clinic is currently working with 252 individuals in San Francisco who are facing evictions due to the Ellis Act. We're seeing seniors facing the loss of their homes of fifty plus years, families forced to leave the city and the many working tenants with no chance to afford a post-eviction apartment in their longtime neighborhood.

We need the California State Legislature to introduce legislation to stop these cruel evictions. 2021 must be the year that we reform the Ellis Act and protect our most vulnerable tenants. So, we are calling on the California State Legislature to:

1) Impose a Moratorium on Ellis Act Evictions during COVID-19, until 90 days after the statewide stay-at-home order is lifted.

2) Require a 5-year holding period before the Ellis Act can be invoked. This would stop speculators from buying buildings and then immediately “taking the property out of the rental business” for purposes of their own financial gain.

Sign onto our campaign to protect our most vulnerable tenants!

Learn how you can take further action by visitingthis document.

Organizations can sign on to support our campaign here.

Additional Reading:

https://oaklandside.org/2020/07/06/despite-the-covid-eviction-freeze-these-oakland-tenants-might-be-legally-displaced/


https://beyondchron.org/will-california-stop-ellis-act-evictions/


Petition by
Sarah Abdeshahian
San Francisco,

To: California State Legislature
From: [Your Name]

Dear Members of the California State Legislature,

On behalf of the undersigned organizations and individuals, we are writing in support of including the Ellis Act in the COVID-19 eviction moratorium and in support of the introduction of an Ellis Act reform bill.

Since its passage in 1985, the Ellis Act has enabled speculators to displace long-term tenants and eliminated thousands of units of rent-controlled housing. Between 1994 and 2020, over 5400 households have been forced out of their homes in San Francisco. In Los Angeles, over 27,000 rent-controlled units have been taken off the market due to the Ellis Act, displacing over 60,000 residents.

The COVID-19 tenant protections have still not brought an end to these evictions. Under AB 3088, and the proposed language of AB 15, Ellis Act evictions are one of the only ways in which landlords can evict tenants during the pandemic. Consequently, jurisdictions are seeing a rise in both eviction threats, and actual evictions filed based on the Ellis Act. These include localities like Sonoma County, which has historically not had a problem with Ellis Act evictions because they don’t have a just cause ordinance. Some landlords are fraudulently threatening tenants with an Ellis Act eviction, since it’s one of the only ways to evict rent-controlled tenants currently unable to pay rent, and bring in tenants willing to pay higher rents. Landlords are taking advantage of the reality that it is extremely difficult to mount a successful affirmative defense to Ellis Act evictions.

The Tenderloin Housing Clinic is currently working with 252 individuals in San Francisco who are facing evictions due to the Ellis Act. These individuals include long-term tenants who are elderly, have disabilities, limited-English speakers, and survivors of abuse. These tenants, who are likely to be immunocompromised, are being asked to leave their home while statewide stay-at-home orders are still in place, in the midst of a global pandemic. Not only is the emotional and physical toll of moving especially pronounced during the pandemic, but these tenants will have little to no chance of locating affordable housing in their neighborhoods post-eviction.

Local jurisdictions are hesitant to legislate around Ellis and offer greater protections to tenants, because of landlords’ successful challenges to such protections in the past. During the pandemic, only Berkeley and Los Angeles have gone so far to impose a moratorium on Ellis Act evictions, knowing that these ordinances may be challenged in court. But many jurisdictions recognize the urgency of the situation, and the fact that their hands are tied. In fact, the Oakland City Council and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors have passed unanimous resolutions asking the Governor for an immediate moratorium on Ellis Act evictions during the pandemic, and asking the State Legislature for longer-term reform of the law.

We need the California State Legislature to pass legislation to stop these cruel evictions. 2021 must be the year that we reform the Ellis Act and protect our most vulnerable tenants. Thus, we call on the State Legislature to do two things:

1. Impose a Moratorium on Ellis Act Evictions during COVID-19, until 90 days after the statewide stay-at-home order is lifted; and

2. Introduce legislation imposing a five-year holding period before the Ellis Act could be invoked.