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In a move to appease concerned property owners, Supervisor John Avalos amended proposed legislation today to extend just cause eviction protections to tenants living in units built after 1979.

The legislation, chiefly sponsored by Avalos, aims to protect tenants living in the estimated 16,000 to 20,000 units in San Francisco built after 1979 — when rent-control legislation went into effect. These tenants currently are not protected from the 15 just cause reasons property owners can give to evict tenants who live in units built before 1979.

While the proposal primarily intends to prevent owner move-in evictions, the amendment does allow exceptions for landlords to move in after paying relocation benefits or after giving tenants a 90-day notice.

“I proposed the amendment due to concerns from colleagues, namely Supervisor [Bevan] Dufty, as well as small property owners,” Avalos said. “I wanted to clarify that there is still the ability for owners to move back in.”

As a newly-amended legislation, the Board of Supervisors voted 7-4 for the first time today, one vote shy of securing a veto-proof majority. Mayor Gavin Newsom has previously been expected to veto the legislation and introduce his own that would only protect tenants who live in foreclosed homes from being evicted. Newsom has vetoed all housing initiatives introduced this year.

Dufty, who is considered a swing vote and is also a mayoral candidate, said he agrees with Newsom’s proposal but remained in opposition to the current amended legislation.

“I indicated to Supervisor Avalos that small property owners feel like they’re not at the table,” Dufty said. “He countered that he held four hearings in which there was public comment, but I argued that there’s a difference between being at the table and being at the podium.”

Avalos said he plans to meet with Dufty and property owners in an effort to make the proposal “work for the poor and rich alike,” but Dufty said he did not know when they would officially sit down together.

“In my seven years on the board, I’m always nervous when there’s an issue regarding property owners and tenants that goes to the extremes,” Dufty added.

Avalos, on the other hand, does not think Newsom will introduce an adequate proposal.

“The mayor needs to catch up with what we’re doing,” Avalos said. “From what I heard on the grapevine, [Newsom’s proposal] only protects for a year.”

Arguing that tenants need protection for a longer period of time, he added that he feels his own proposal currently addresses the issue of owner move-in evictions in the event of foreclosure.

Supervisors Dufty, Michela Alioto-Pier, Carmen Chu and Sean Elsbernd voted against the amended legislation, which will go up for a second and final vote on Jan. 5, 2010.

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Kimberly is currently a journalism major and business minor at San Francisco State University. Come May 2010, she will be moving on to bigger and better things, i.e. living and breathing journalism, not just studying it. But for now you can usually find her at City Hall every Tuesday at the Board of Supervisors meetings. Having lived her entire life in San Francisco, she itches to travel far and wide, most likely to be convinced that every other city and town pales in comparison.

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  1. Dufty is right – this measure is pandering to the extremes. Were it to pass, look for the city lose additional property tax revenues as potential condo purchasers decide not to buy elsewhere than in San Francisco.

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