VIDEO: Ellis Act Evictions at 23rd and Florida Streets

Ellis Act evictions are on the rise and in the news almost daily  – so much so that Mission Supervisor David Campos and Mayor Ed Lee have been proposing legislation to either ban them or make them more expensive for landlords.

Here’s the personal story of tenants in one ten-unit Mission property at 23rd and Florida facing an Ellis Act eviction. The tenants in one unit have been there for 46 years and pay $485 a month for a three-bedroom apartment. The owner of the building could not be reached for comment.

In their eviction notices, the tenants were asked to leave by January but are fighting for an extension that would allow them to stay until September, a year after they received the original notice.

112 Comments

  1. Bob

    This building with $485 rent is a poster child for why we need the Ellis Act.

    • John

      Yes, I’d like to see more coverage of the landlords, who are often small mom’n’pop landlords who bought a rental building for their retirement, and then find themselves trapped with aggressive tenants paying ridiculously low rents and constantly braying about their “rights”, backed by an entire symphony of activists, advocates, pro bono lawyers and opportunistic trouble-makers.

      The Ellis Act exists to provide a path out of the forced servitude of landlords who find themselves with a “life sentence” of subsidizing a tenant determined to maximize their profit from a rent-controlled tenancy.

      ML is jumping on the bandwagon here of “evictions are bad” but the truth is that they often necessary and good for the community, injecting much-needed flexibility and mobility into the populace, and encouraging more efficient and effective occupation of our existing housing stock.

      Come on, ML, be real journalists, cover both sides of the issue equally and fairly, and don’t just show the same shallow analysis we are reading elsewhere.

      • zig

        It is not just the landlords who suffer. Later comers can’t move up to bigger units and now many young people and young families can’t move into SF at all

        At least these people are presumably poor. In my building in Noe Valley there is well off people hoarding apartments with empty rooms while owing homes outside SF.

        • J.K.

          My pet peeve is the highly paid tech workers who receive affordable housing benefits (rent control). There are quite a few of them hoarding apartments in the Mission. Rent control should be means tested.

          • MissionLoca

            That’s ridiculous. Tech workers who RENT an apartment in the Mission are not “hoarding” them…they’re living in them, and paying a pretty penny to do so! Rent control is a year-based ordinance, not need-based…never has been. It would be unfair to make rent control need-based, because it would mean that landlords would never rent to someone who needed it, therefore making it nearly impossible for middle- and lower-income people to find an apartment. You haven’t thought this through. Also, it is a classist assertion to maintain that tech workers who presumably earn a decent living should be made to suffer for their successes by not having access to the same rights as everyone else. Rather than take something away from some of the people, why not try to make something new available to everyone, such as more housing being built at city-mandated lower rental rates? There are problems even with that plan, but at least you’re offering something new, rather than taking away opportunities.

      • Z

        The article noted “the owner of the building could not be reached for comment”.

        Seems to me that ML did give the landlord a chance to present their side of the story. Instead of stating their case though, the owner opted to remain silent, which is fine as that is their right. This has the effect of making it difficult to illustrate both sides of the issue within the context of this article.

        Evictions, while sometimes being necessary, aren’t always a good thing for the community. They are bad for the “mom n’ pop” landlords who feel they have no other recourse but to exit the rental business. They are also bad for displaced tenants who were well liked by other members of the neighborhood.

        • John

          Z, I agree that evictions “are not always a good thing for the community”, even though they are necessary.

          I can understand this LL being reluctant to speak, given the anger directed by a small minority at them for exercizing their rights.

          Perhaps they fear that the same people who think it is OK to protest a bus might also protest their homes. These agitators appear to prefer soft targets.

          • MissionLoca

            I agree. The landlords stand to gain nothing by talking to a media source (Mission Local) whose “journalists” have already decided which side they’re on. Sadly, Mission Local is fanning the fires in a very dangerous way by insinuating with strongly slanted journalism that landlords are always the bad guy, and people who pay almost nothing in rent every month due to rent control are victims because someone decides to LEGALLY evict them (with a heavy bribe of $5K or more!). It’s irresponsible, and Mission Local should really try to be more even-handed with their reporting.

    • C. Russo

      Yes, the rent is ridiculously low, but this is no “poster child.” t falls into the anecdotal category, not representative of what is happening with Ellis Act abuse.

      • John

        The Ellis Act isn’t abused. It is used as it should be, to allow LL’s toe xit untenable situations.

        Market rent tenants do not get Ellised.

        • Kaliman

          Then explain why there are so many serial evictors?

          http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/A137174.PDF

          It’s a speculator’s dream and currently being abused.

          • John

            The reason is simply. Usually the sequence is this:

            1) An existing small LL gets sick of subsidizing his tenants and sells.

            2) The only people who will buy a low-rent building are those who intend to Ellis

            3) The tenants go and the building is rehabbed

            4) The building sells as TIC’s

            You are describing number 2 there, but they are only part of the picture.

        • Susan

          That’s not correct myself and three of my fellow tenants have been Ellis acted for condo conversion via TIC

        • C. Russo

          Untenable, as in, “Shit, I’m not making a fortune off of grandma’s old property!”

          • John

            Society has an interest in returns being economic and consistent. The problem with rent control is that it unfairly burdens some landlords while rewarding others, for no good reason that I can see.

    • CWW

      exactly!!! $485/month is unreasonable and unrealistic and unfair by every standard. Why should a private owner have to subsidize that?

  2. John

    Lee and Campos cannot “ban” Ellis evictions because that is a state law that trumps any law the city can pass.

    In fact, that is the entire point of the Ellis Act i.e. to assert the primacy of property rights over the whims and eccentricities of municipal land use regulations.

    • Kaliman

      Sorry John – the Ellis Act is a farce.
      Too many speculators abusing it.

      In this Ponzi scheme at least 5 properties on Woodward were Ellis evictions. That’s 25 units. The street is one block long. WOW!!

      http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/A137174.PDF

      • John

        That proves there were a lot of tenants on that block enjoying ridiculously uneconomic rents.

        I’m not sure it proves anything else. There are other blocks that have seen no Ellis evictions because the tenants there all pay rational rents.

        • two beers

          If you don’t like rent control on old buildings, DON’T BUY OLD BUILDINGS!. Caveat emptor, right?

          If you want to get the “gummint out of your hair” and gut rent control, I suggest we really get gummint out of your hair, and eliminate your mortgage interest deductions, depreciation deductions, home buyer credits, gummint flood insurance, FHA mortgage insurance, Prop 13, Fed buying up to $85billion/ month of toxic MBS, and Fed-implemented artificially-low interest rates.

          Without the implicit and explicit government support of the banker/developer/realtor/landlord complex, you guys would crash and burn before you could say “Ayn Rand.”

          Renters are tired of coddling and subsidizing landlords (not all are bad) who abuse and game the system. You’re riding a gravytrain; good form and a little class would dictate that you quit whining.

          • John

            I wasn’t whining about anything, two beers. I was explaining to you why Ellis evictions happen, and why certain types of tenants are targeted more than pothers.

  3. Andrew Long

    Yes, I am the person interviewed in this story. I gave a long interview going over the history of rent control in San Francisco and how it has driven rental housing providers out of business. I wish Mission Local would do a story about small landlords and how they are being driven out of business by rent control, specifically since 1994 when rent control was extended to owner-occupied 2-4 unit buildings. I don’t like to see people displaced for no good reason any more than the next, but come on, this person has a 3 bedroom flat for $485 a month. How do they seriously expect any landlord to stay in business with rents at that level?!

    • Bob

      Too bad that part of the interview got cut– clearly it didn’t fit the Mission Local agenda of stirring up the next protest.

      • John

        Yes, i think ML is a little too guilty of jumping on the bandwagon here. Perhaps that is because the writers are all young and therefore probably renters themselves?

        I’d really like to hear more on ML about landlords like Andrew who have been royally screwed by the law of unintended consequences that is rent control.

        • Andrew Long

          I have actually done fine myself, but some of my neighbors have been stuck with low rent rent controlled tenants in their small buildings, tenants that often make more money and are wealthier than their landlord! I will give this reporter credit, she was very nice and did try to get a landlords slant on this story, something that is often completely lacking in most news outlets on this topic. The problem is any talk of making the rent control even a little more fair and evenhanded for owners is literally and figuratively shouted down by the tenant activists. I think three small changes could end most Ellis act evictions in SF. 1. Exempt small 2-4 owner-occupied buildings, 2. annual allowable of 100% of CPI rather than the current 60% and 3. Means testing to get wealthy tenants to stop hording rent controlled apartments as 2nd homes..

    • Marianne Duke

      Would it help if there were no rental units, only condominiums for sale?

      • John

        There is no such thing as a rental unit. There are just housing units, some of which are rented out for periods of time.

        Any unit can be sold regardless of use.

  4. gsnaps3

    why not raise their rents a little but not evict…i can’t believe how selfish people have become! i miss the old san francisco!!

    • John

      Yes, I suspect a number of these evicted tenants could have keep their home if only they had agreed to pay a rent that was a little more reasonable.

      By gambling it all on keeping a silly rent, they lost it all. Why can’t people compromize?

      • grammarneurotic

        It would be interesting to find out if the landlord asked for new lease agreements and was shut down. Hope to see more coverage of this issue so it gets more attention!

        • John

          Usually by the time a tenant has enjoyed a rent that low for that long,the landlord is not interested in entering into any deal that doesn’t involve the tenant moving.

          It can be risky trying renegotiate a lease because the tenant may always come back later and claim his “rights” were violated in some way.

          Far better to either pay him to move, or Ellis his ass.

          • ske

            One of the most heineous aspects of the rental ordinance (and rent control) is that EVEN IF the tenants were to agree to a rental increase in excess of the allowable increase, it would be ILLEGAL under the terms of the rental ordinance and the tenants could later sue and get ALL the rent back. They could also sue a FUTURE landlord who maintains the “illegal” increase, even if that future landlord had nothing to do with it. I think there are a number of situations in the city where decent tenants understand that they are under paying and would be willing to volunteer an increased rent. A landlord would be taking a very large risk to accept a voluntary rental increase.

    • Andrew Long

      Good idea but not legal in San Francisco. Under the rent control laws, a tenant can not waive their rights and agree to a higher rent.

      • John

        That’s correct, Andrew, but there are ways around it. If both parties agree, a new lease can be agreed if the terms change materially.

        Examples might be putting new roommates on the lease, adding a new service like storage or parking,, allowing a pet, or other exemptions from the terms of the original lease.

        In practice I have negotiated a few new leases with existing tenants, but only by mutual consent of course.

        • Andrew Long

          Actually no. Check with the rent board. Under the rent control laws in SF there is no legal way for a tenant to legally agree to pay more rent than is allowed under the law. Landlords have had to pay back tens of thousands of dollars to tenants for small “illegal” rent increases done by previous owners decades ago!

          Only way to do this legally is to perhaps have the tenant move to a different unit in the building a sign a new lease, I see no other way to do this, legally.

          • John

            Andrew, i know what you are saying but I have done that effectively a few times.

            One time was when my tenants did not have the rent for the current month. I offered them a new lease at a higher rent, and which put the two 6.14 sub-tenants on the lease. I took advice and was told it would pass muster.

            They got a pass on that one month but paid more thereafter.

            The key is that the lease must materially change. It can’t just be a raise with no compensation.

    • marco

      @gsnaps3 — It is illegal to raise their rent much due to rent control.

      • John

        Of course, that’s the entire problem here. Watch the video and the sense of entitlement that woman tenant has is stunning. She truly believes that she has some God-given right to rent a 3BR for less than $500 a month!

        And since allowable increases are typically only about 1% a year, the gap between her rent and a market rent increases and compounds every year.

        Her words make a compelling case for more Ellis evictions, not less.

  5. Parkle

    I, too, am sick of Missionlocal’s one sided liberal, pseudo-proletarian bent. Here’s some quality counterpoints to the perspectives on here:

    http://www.foxnews.com
    http://www.sarahpac.com

    You’re welcome.

  6. Christine

    $485 is ridiculous and completely unsustainable, so I’m not surprised the landlord has resorted to the Ellis Act. Why not offer to pay something more reasonable instead? Maybe the owner is open to compromise. Offering to pay even $2000 or $2500, which is still a *STEAL* for a 3BR, would probably go a long way for the landlord.

    • John

      True, christine, which is why the Ellis protesers always conjure up a “victim” who is elderly, sick or disabled.

      The vast majority of those who are Ellis’ed are “lifers” – perfectly fit, able and (often) educated tenants who squat in the same unit for years, and hoard it for their own profitable use.

      That’s exactly what Ellis was designed to prevent, and Ellis is only invoked when the rents get stupid cheap.

      Market rent tenants NEVER get Ellis’ed.

  7. Old Mission Neighbor

    $485/month for a 3 BR?

    HAHAHAHA

    • John

      Yeah, if we assume a market rent there is $3,500, then that tenant is making 36K a year in “profit” while the landlord can barely cover their costs.

      I’m amazed the Ellis took so long.

  8. Mary

    I don’t see what the “$485/month” story proves. We don’t know how much income that tenant earns, or how much the building owner receives in total rents from the building. Some buildings actually end up with a balanced representation of the city’s income groups. Some don’t (including newer buildings with apartments/condos that are all well over $2000/month). These renters are not why rents are out of control right now. It’s because other renters coming into the city can and are willing to pay more. You heard a lot of anecdotes like this to support the repeal of rent control in NYC, and that has not made housing more “affordable” in Manhattan. And while rent control can have adverse affects, it is currently one of the few protections that working class (less than $50K year?) and poor have in SF, where supply restrictions and other constraints prevent a true and balanced market situation. And we’re talking about housing, not the cost of a drink or a cab ride. Rent control is not ideal, but let’s not rail against it unless/until we have a better solution in place (not just a hypo) for low and mid-income residents in the city. And why don’t building owners push for a workable answer instead of more ways to get around rent protections?

    • Mark

      There should be more city-sponsored incentives for rental housing providers of long term tenants to remain in the business. Housing vouchers, tax credits, etc.

    • John

      Mary, you are correct that rent control is deeply flawed. The rent someone pays bears no relationship to the tenant’s ability to pay, not to the landlord’s costs.

      It’s simply a historical anomaly, unrelated to any economic rationale.

      Rents should be set either on the basis of a tenant’s income or on the landlord’s cost. The current system is insane, and Ellis is the only safety valve.

  9. Kaliman

    The Ellis Act is set up for abuse and that’s what is happening in SF and more so in the Mission.
    Yes – there are mom and pop landlords but there also investors and speculators that are buying properties, holding them for a short time and then using the Ellis Act.

    Look up Benny Chetchuti, or John W Simonse or Urban Green Investments.

    Nothing but greedy real estate speculators.

    • John

      Any and every law sets up some opportunities for abuse. Rent control has allowed some “master tenants” to sublet their units for a profit while their real landlord makes a loss. But I do not see you complaining about that.

      Ellis is a safety valve to ensure that property owners are not permanently stiffed by tenants who stay far longer than any reasonable tenant ever should. If there is the odd problem here and there, so what? The justice that the law was intended to provide remains substantially valid.

      • landline

        Subletting without landlord consent is a just cause for eviction. Thus, your example is bogus.

        • John

          landline, that kind of tenant abuse is common and very hard for a landlord to prove.

          Why don’t you condemn such behavior if you think it is wrong?

  10. Joe Landlord

    ​As a Mission landlord, please allow me to contradict those here and elsewhere who are or represent the poor, suffering, trapped landlords of San Francisco.

    I purchased a small apartment building in the Mission about fifteen years ago with tenants under rent control who had occupied their units for years. When one purchases rental property of any size in San Francisco, the purchase price is determined by a multiple of the total annual rents. Landlords who purchase a property with low rents pay a much lower price for their buildings. In addition, landlords who purchased property years ago paid a small fraction of today’s multiples and prices. I paid less than $500K(!) for a gorgeous Mission building in the late 1990s, and although there are still rent controlled tenancies dating back to the eighties, the property has realized spectacular appreciation by any standards. Also, property tax in San Francisco is determined by the purchase price of a property and a small annual increase based on inflation. Long time landlords pay very low property taxes. The vast majority of landlords who cry foul about low rent units also fail to admit that all or many of their other units have turned over many times, and those units bring in high rents.

    San Francisco Rent Control has been in effect for over thirty years. Every prospective landlord knew what they were getting in to at the time they purchased their property. If they purchased prior to that time, they could have sold out at the top of many markets. Landlords who complain about the deplorable rent control conditions they must operate under are disingenuous and greedy or worse.

    • John

      Joe, I hesitate to take issue with another Mission LL, but I see things a little differently.

      Yes, a LL can do well if he gets turnover. And let’s face it, the nastier, more aggressive LL’s get more turnover than the “nice guy” LL’s who finish last.

      And yet, price appreciation (along with some tax benefits) make the whole thing viable.

      But I disagree that properties sell for a price determined only by their rents. If that were true, some buildings would be very cheap indeed, and they are not.

      Rather, buildings are priced by a combination of their rental cashflows AND their value if vacant, since that can be achieved via Ellis.

      IOW there is a price floor for any SF building based on it’s “Ellis value”. And if Ellis were taken away, the value would fall.

      In a way, I love rent control because it generates artificial shortages which a shrewd LL can learn how to profit from. But I think it is very sad the way it creates an a situation where LL’s see TT’s as enemies rather than customers.

      And clearly it has not reduced the cost of housing after 35 years.

      It’s a bankrupt policy that must go.

    • inSF

      Joe, please open your eyes a bit. So you got lucky because you had some tenant turnover, and was able to get some units to market rents, thus making your investment cash flow, in addition to the appreciation. What about the guy who brought, just like you, and all his lifer tenants stuck around?

      You say LL’s “know the rules” when they buy in rent controlled SF. Yes they do. Those rules ALSO INCLUDE the Ellis act. So all the renter activist (that essentially repeat the same mantra) can shove it wrt “you knew the rules.”

      SF baically chose an arbitrary and idiotic way to regulate housing. There are all sorts of abuses in the system. Schmucky tenants that hoard units at super low rents; master tenants that live for free by renting rooms at higher rates than they pay for theirs; and also Ellis act speculators. They are all taking advantage of a warped system that is full of holes.

      John said it best, saavy LL’s know how to deal with RC and profit by the exorbitant rents new comers pay to live here…like all those awesome tech workers. And so it goes, round and round. The Bored of Stupidvisors should pull their sanctimonious heads out of their asses and admit that RC is a major fuck up.

      • Z

        “The Board of Stupidvisors”? “Schmucky tenants”?

        It’s hard to take anything you just said seriously when you’re hurling childish insults like these around.

    • Z

      That’s right Joe. All of these prospective landlords knew exactly what they were getting into when they purchased rent controlled properties in SF. Instead of admitting this though, there are some who choose to portray themselves as victims while they bash their own tenants on public message boards. It’s a nasty approach, and doesn’t achieve much beyond throwing fuel onto the fire.

      • Frank

        And all prospective tenants should have known that the Ellis Act was state law. Renters in California cannot expect to receive livelong, discounted rental housing from private landlords.

        “Instead of admitting this, there are some who choose to portray themselves as victims while they bash the” legal owners of the property “on public message boards. It’s a nasty approach, and doesn’t achieve much beyond throwing fuel onto the fire.”

        It cuts both ways…

        • Z

          Most tenants do know this Frank and are not anti-Ellis Act. Also, there aren’t many renters who expect to receive livelong rental housing from private landlords.

          I get that it cuts both ways but in the case of ML, the majority of the mudslinging is coming from the landlord side.

      • Andrew Long

        I beg to differ. Prop I was passed in 1994 extending rent control to previously exempted owner-occupied 2-4 unit buildings. This class of owners has been hurt more than any other class, because prior to 1994 this exemption was thought to be fairly entrenched and secure. This is the class of owners that had rents often set well below market as they saw their tenants also as their neighbors and sometimes even friends. With Prop I, the Tenants Union successfully soured these relationships, and this directly let to the huge increase in OMI’s, TIC’s and Ellis acts and rents generally. Most of the 25,000 units being kept off the market and vacant are in these 2-4 unit buildings.

      • inSF

        If you bothered to read my post right above, you’d realize that your rant is a one sided turd.

    • Frank

      “Joe Landlord” Yeah, sure you are.

      Any relation to “Joe the Plumber”?

  11. ThatGuy

    Andra Cernavskis, you have got the be the shittiest “reporter” ever. This is a one-side bullshit “article”.

    • Morgan

      there is no reporting in the ML ! just the same opinion piece over and over (since the “reporters” all have the same opinion…

    • Z

      ThatGuy, your response is rude and also overlooks a few things:

      – The article noted “the owner of the building could not be reached for comment”.

      -The part in the video where they had Andrew Long explain why some landlords choose to leave the business because of negative effects from rent control.

      This piece clearly isn’t as one-sided as you believe.

      • ThatGuy

        My point being that the ongoing narrative on this site is completely one-sided. It goes against their core mission statement: fair and balanced.

        This appears to be an “SEO Experts” link baiting dream to drive more ad revenue.

        • two beers

          What kind of masochist martyr trip are you on that are compelled to keep reading MissionLocal even though you hate it so much?

          You should get your blood pressure checked, stat.

          • ThatGuy

            To keep tabs on the insane fuck-heads like you.

          • two beers

            You’re a piece of work, you are. Aren’t you the guy at the Christmas party who gets way too drunk and pukes on the spread. and then picks a fight with the hosts?

            Merry Christmas, and get that blood pressure checked, mm-kay?

      • two beers

        Z= If any article on Mission Local article doesn’t portray all tenants as ungrateful, worthless scum leeching off heroic, patriotic, and long-suffering landlords, then it violates his FOXNews-derived “fair and balanced” mandate.

  12. Justin

    What is the owner going to do with an Ellis acted 10 unit building that they can’t rent or turn into condos. TICs? 10 people on a loan? That seems crazy. What’s the owner thinking here?

    • Frank

      Many lenders now offer individual loans for TIC purchases.

    • John

      Justin, in NYC there are co-op buildings (which have a very similar structure to TIC’s here) with hundreds of units.

      There was a building in North Beach that was Ellis’ed a few years ago that had over 20 units. As far as I know, it is now a TIC, and probably could not have gone condo even under the older, more lax rules.

      • Rickshaw

        They are TICing the Park Lane which is north of 30 units. Probably the finest apartment building on the west coast. Since the BOS put a 10 year moratorium on new condos, TICs will become the norm and the financing will adapt accordingly.

        • John

          Yes, the beauty of TIC’s is that they are not a formal change of use or subdivision at all. They are simply a form of shared ownership which is governed by State law and not City/County law.

          IOW, the city cannot do anything to stop TIC formations.

  13. nutrisystem

    Lives are on the line here, so I feel this is important public business. I want to see more information about the basic financial situation of this building.

    This is an important test case for housing regulations in San Francisco.

    On the one hand, we have landlord spokespeople proclaiming endlessly on this blog that the building owner is, of course, in dire straights because of those damn rent-control tenants.

    On the other hand, there is “Joe Landlord’s” perspective, supported by quick back-of-envelope calculations, that indicate that landlords are doing well – even with the presence of long time rent control tenants.

    Journalism and the public interest would be served by a basic financial breakdown:

    1) What was the date and purchase price of this building, and what is the current mortgage payment for it? How many more years of mortgage payments?

    2) What is the TOTAL monthly cost to the landlord for mortgage, taxes, upkeep, etc.

    3) What is the TOTAL monthly income from rents of the building.

    4) What are the rents on each of the 10 units?

    From this information, we could clearly see if this building has been profitable as an investment.

    And we could better get a handle on the truthfulness of the arguments of the 2 sides, and see a typical rent-control scenario in a building.

    Extreme anecdotes like one particular apartment renting for $485/month are inflammatory and don’t tell the whole story.

    • John

      nutrisystem, I do not see why it matters how profitable this building is, or whether it makes a loss or not. It’s not really any of your business.

      Ellis doesn’t say a LL can evict if he is losing money. It says he can evict if he doesn’t want to be a LL any more regardless of his reason.

      He may be sick of the 2am phone calls to fix a toilet. Or of dealing with tenants with a sense of entitlement. Or he may be getting old and not be able to deal any more. Or he may need the money for retirement or for a better investment opportunity.

      The factors you cite are valid if the LL wants to increase rents via a passthru. They are not relevant for a valid eviction.

      Finally, the tenant activists have been good at coming up with particularly sympathetic examples of tenants being evicted, e.g. children, seniors, folks with AIDS etc. But LL’s cannot show that some TT’s have insanely good deals?

      • nutrisystem

        What effects lives in our city is OUR business. And WE collectively can make rules regarding the behavior of real estate speculators.

        If you want unfettered capitalism, go invest in an oil well in Texas. Housing in San Francisco is not you casino.

        • John

          Yes, nutrisystem, you can vote for politicians who will repeal the law in Sacramento.

          Until then, the laws says a LL’s costs are irrrelevant in considering whether to Ellis or not.

          That said, I feel quite sure that it must be obvious to you that Ellis mostly happens where the rents are way below market, meaning that the ROI is sub-optimal.

          • nutrisystem

            Your moneycentric, anti-life attitude is sub-optimal.

          • John

            Throwing cheap categorizations around is not going to solve the problem here.

            Rents that are too low are killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

            You cannot reasonably expect a LL who is renting something worth $3,500 for $500 to not seek an exit.

            If your boss offered you a new job contract at half your current pay, would you just meekly accept it?

        • landline

          Mixed metaphors, false comparisons, foggy thinking. What do they have in common? Ask John.

          A long term landlord’s ROI increases over time as rents rise, as he pays off his mortgage, as property taxes stay nearly frozen because of Prop. 13.

          John misuses the term as a justification for eviction as a tool in the pursuit of superprofits.

          • John

            landline, you clearly do not understand how investment works. You always compare your current return to the return you could get elsewhere. If the risk/reward of your current investment in inferior, you close it out and move your money.

            That is what is happening here. Rent control gives returns so inferior to elsewhere that the LL bails. Why would you ever want that to happen?

            Of course, you may simply oppose all profit. But then why live in the global center of capitalism?

          • two beers

            “Mixed metaphors, false comparisons, foggy thinking”

            You left out strawman, slippery slope, false compromise, moving the goalposts, appeal to complexity, affirming the consequent, and a dozen other fallacies. I will grant that he is slow to anger and avoids the ad hominem, but, considering his blistering posting pace here, this makes me think he could be a robot programmed to troll for the banker/developer/landlord/realtior complex.. Merry Christmas, model John-2000-LX!

          • John

            I do not get angry because i do not believe that anger is appropriate when the only issue is differences in politics and religion.

            I can accept that you have a different ideology without hating you. Radical, huh? Like, I’m not tempted to stop you getting to work. Nor do I want to throw a brick through your window. I don’t even call you names. I just makes my points, inexorably and effectively.

    • Rickshaw

      The owner is choosing to convert his investment into another use. There are plenty of private LL’s converting to TIC, whether they are performing the work themselves or selling the building to a developer (referred to as speculators here). The fact is buildings like these are worth far more dead than alive, a 3 Bedroom TIC in this area can fetch anywhere from $700-$900k. If there are 10 at this building, you can do the math. If you subtract the renovation costs of 25% per unit, the owner is looking at a $5-6 million profit. If they are smart and do a 1031 tax free exchange into another like asset, they can use this profit as the 25% down payment for a $20 million apartment building. Even if the returns where a low 5% for this new asset it would still be a better investment. Considering peoples homes are at stake here, you can call this good enterprising or bad displacement.

      • John

        Technically an Ellis/TIC conversion is not a change of use. Either way it is residential.

        If it were a formal change of use, then the city could require permits to do a TIC conversion. And of course the city could refuse to issue such permits.

        But the city cannot do that.

  14. Pamela

    46 years in the same place; in 1967 a home in SF could be had for $20,000; what have these people been doing with their money, besides blowing it?! It is these type of tenants, especially the woman in the video, which makes the Ellis Act rising. Can’t blame the landlords at all.

    • John

      Agreed, Pamela. I’m sure that a family with small kids was seen as a poster child for an unjust eviction. But the reality is that this woman probably inherited the rental from her parents, and has a ridiculously (almost) free ride for decades.

      Her reason for wanting that to continue is as much an example of unfettered greed as any LL cited here.

      • nutrisystem

        So you make up some BS and it’s “reality”?

        You really are a greedy low life… typical real estate speculator.

        • John

          If you are selling a car worth $3,500 and I offer you $495 for it, who is being greedy?

          • nutrisystem

            When the intrinsic value of an apartment is $200/month and the tenant pays $500/month, the owner is making a good profit.

            If said owner isn’t satisfied with a “good” profit, but rather wants a “colossal” profit, then he is being greedy.

          • John

            It’s not about definitions of “good” or “colossal”. It’s about rates of return being fair and consistent.

            If I am making 3% per annum on a building with rent-controlled tenant and the norm for the market nationally is 6%, then clearly I should exist the rent-controlled building and buy elsewhere.

            If you really care about SF tenants you should want LL’s to get a rate of return that motivates them to stay in business. It is short-sighted for a customer of any business to want to get the product or service too cheap, because eventually that provider will quit.

    • Rickshaw

      This is one of the often seldom discussed byproducts of rent control. It discourages natural mobility like home ownership.

    • nutrisystem

      Pamela, you disparage these tenants who you don’t even know and accuse them of “blowing” money.

      I can’t speak to the financial details of these tenants, but one thing I KNOW they’ve been doing every month is hand over a rent check to their landlord – for the amount they and the landlord agreed upon.

      Life here is expensive, especially with kids. I’ve met some of the tenants of this building, and they are descent, productive citizens. How dare you accuse them of sloth and wastefulness?

      • John

        Yes, i do not blame any tenant who seeks to maintain an almost insanely good deal

        But similarly you should not blame any property owner who says “enough is enough”.

        Everyone is entitled tot ry and get the best deal for themselves, and that includes LL’s as much as TT’s

  15. nutrisystem

    The reason people are so concerned about eviction is that it essentially means BANISHMENT.

    Unlike in years past when an evictee could just rent a similar apartment down the street, now It means leaving his city… moving so far away from friends, work, family, etc. as to stress or break these bonds.

    Such forced relocation is a human rights violation, not unlike the relocation of Japanese Americans in WW2.

    • John

      Legally, it is not a human rights violation just because you have to move a few miles, or downsize to a smaller place. Such a categorization is unkind to people who really have suffered from ethnic cleansing, brutality or ostracism.

      The woman interviewed has had 46 years to plan a move, save money due to her cheap rent, and generally do what all prudent people do and make life choices that are sustainable.

      Perhaps she cannot live sustainably in a place like SF any more than I can sustainably live in Monaco.

    • ThatGuy

      You’re a fucking idiot.

      • two beers

        Easy there, tiger. Seems like you’ve had a few too many, too early. If you worked a regular 9-5 like your tenants struggling to pay your rent, you wouldn’t have so much free time, and maybe then could get that drinking thing under control. Hard work never hurt anybody. Just a thought.

    • pete

      Wow, you’re compare the Japanese internment camps to someone wanting to sell their building? Unreal.

      • nutrisystem

        Yes, but in some respects, the Japanese American detainees has it better than current SF evictees – they got free rent, food and healthcare at the camps, and extended families were permitted to remain together. And, while it must’ve sucked being locked in, some might argue that Manzinar was a nicer place to live than the Fruitvale district of Oakland.

  16. Leila Salazar-López

    Thanks Mission Local for your coverage of the Ellis Act eviction currently happening at 23rd & Florida, although I agree that the focus on one tenant paying $485 just adds fuel to the fire. For the tenants, many of who have lived in the 10 unit building for over 20 years, the most important thing we want people to know is that we want to stay in our homes. We don’t want our home to be converted into luxury condos by the new building owner. We hope there’s a way that we can convince the new owner to change his mind to either continue renting to us or sell the building to us. We’re willing to negotiate if he is.

    • John

      Leila, of course you WANT a cheap home. The public policy issue isn’t whether or not people want cheap stuff, because of course everyone does. I’d like a pony.

      The issue is whether the public interest is served by having people hoard homes for decades just to get a deal? and whether there is a more economically sustainable and productive use for the property?

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