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Supervisor John Avalos was right when he said that property owners would list more reasons in their case against his proposal to extend just cause eviction protections to housing units built after 1979.

Nonetheless, at Monday’s fourth and final installment of the Land Use Committee hearing to discuss its pros and cons, the three-member committee approved the proposal.

“I want to thank the opposition,” said Supervisor Sophie Maxwell. “You helped make [the proposal] better and stronger.”

The ultimate hurdle will be at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting where the proposal will be presented as a committee report. With Mayor Gavin Newsom vetoing all housing initiatives introduced this year, the new measure enjoys the firm support of only six supervisors – including Chris Daly and David Campos. It will take eight votes to make the proposal veto proof.

In attempts to address the major concerns posed by property owners, two amendments were added to the original proposal. One removed the limitations on owner move-in evictions in condo developments with multiple owners, and the second added a 16th just cause eviction protection for tenants temporarily renting condos originally intended for sale.

“This ordinance is not about extending rent control but eviction control,” reiterated Supervisor Avalos in his efforts to appease property owners. “There’s a big difference.”

To apply rent control to post-1979 buildings, the law would have to be extended at the state level first. The Board of Supervisors would then have to approve extending it at the local level.

For property owners, however, the difference between rent control and eviction control is minimal when it comes to how it will affect their ability and willingness to make rental-housing units available under the new eviction protections on the horizon.

“We need more options and less restrictions,” said Melissa Brandt, the property owner of a small condo who introduced the argument that banks are now reluctant to finance rental properties because of eviction controls.

One owner listed the Bank of Marin and Sterling Bank and Trust as institutions that will only lend to Ellis and TLC properties. “They will simply not lend here,” he said of rental properties.

While landlords left it unclear as to how eviction controls affect financing, lenders say it doesn’t.

“The bank has nothing to do with that,” said Steve Adams with Sterling Bank and Trust, adding that the bank doesn’t consider whether a rental property has eviction controls or not.

William Ho, housing project manager for the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, said at Monday’s meeting that Chase and Wells Fargo financed two of their housing projects in the last year.

“We have to access private capital,” he said. “They make their decisions based on cash flow alone.”

Tom Kelly, the media relations officer for Chase, said the bank’s decision to finance a rental property is contingent on the down payment, the expected rent of a unit, the borrower’s financial condition, and the age and condition of a building, to name a few of the check-off items.

“Rent control would be a factor,” said Kelly. “I don’t know that eviction control would play a role.”

Currently, just cause eviction protections exist only for tenants living in housing units built before 1979. Those that live in units built after 1979 don’t benefit from the 15 just causes landlords have to give before evicting a tenant.

According to data that Supervisor Avalos pulled from tenant rights organizations, 40 percent of eviction cases involve tenants in post-1979 rental units. He also cited the estimated 10,000 rental units coming online in the future, such as Trinity Plaza and Parkmerced.

“A person is clearly not listening if they don’t see it is a serious human problem,” said Supervisor Eric Mar of the group of tenants who don’t benefit from just cause eviction protections.

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Housing, property, and space in general are prized commodities, especially in San Francisco. Nancy López gets to cover the stories that inevitably grow out of the cracks in the vacant storefronts, aging buildings and limited affordable housing - to name a few of the issues - found throughout the Mission District. She welcomes any story ideas readers may have.

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  1. Maybe I wasn’t at the same hearing, but I did not hear a single person speak who had been evicted from a post-1979 housing unit who would have been protected by this ordinance.