Photos: Sarah McClure

Of all Mission’s graffiti, none likely appear with as much ubiquity than the stencils of a wheeled suitcase inscribed with the words, “Tenants Here Forced Out.”

Always strategically placed, the suitcase stencils materialize on the pavement in front of a building that enacted an Ellis Act eviction — one in which the owner evicts all tenants to then generally sell it.
Mission Local recently sat down with two anti-eviction movement leaders: Erin McElroy of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, and Rebecca Gourevitch of Eviction-Free San Francisco to learn about the suitcase stencils and how grassroots today are fighting displacement in the Bay Area.

Mission Local: What is the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project?

Erin McElroy: It’s a collective of people working together to map the evictions and displacement that San Francisco residents are experiencing and the ways that dispossession are being enacted.

ML: How many people are in the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project?

EM: There are about six of us — all volunteers.

ML: So, I’ve been seeing a lot of these pavement stencils around the city. How many stencils are in the Mission District?

EM: I would imagine there are 15-20 stencils.

ML: When did the stenciling begin?

EM: January of this year.

ML: How many people go out to do stencils?

EM: Two or three at a time.

ML: Is it at nighttime?

EM: Always at nighttime.

Courtesy of Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

ML: How do you place them?

EM: I don’t actually place them, but I work with other folks to design the stencils. The stencilers place them. They use an Exacto knife on a posterboard or for more refined stencils, use a community laser-cutter to be able to mass produce.

ML: How did you come up with the stencil design?

EM: It was a collaborative effort. I worked with a few other artists and activists. We were trying to figure out something that would be powerful and get the message across.

The stencil says, “Tenants Here Forced Out.” We actually created different luggage tags, which the stencilers will be using in the future to distinguish other kinds of evictions.

ML: But at this point, all the suitcase stencils represent Ellis Act evictions?

EM: Yes, the stencils are all Ellis Act evictions.

ML: Why use this type of campaign?

EM: One of the ways gentrification functions is by forgetting and by “invisiblizing” those who are displaced, who the displacer is, and normalizing it.

Similar to our map, we want this project to “visiblize” what’s happening, make it palpable and document the stories behind the evictions.

It’s one thing to know that there have been close to 3,700 units displaced by the Ellis Act since 1997, but it’s quite another when you’re actually confronted with it on the street.

The stencils should inspire people to stop and wonder.

ML: So, by placing a visual in front of people, you hope more folks will have a discussion about Ellis Act evictions?

Rebecca Gourevitch: Exactly. Ellis Act evictions and housing are already a hot topic in the city right now, but there are still people who have checked out of the whole thing; it doesn’t really affect them. The stencils are great because walking around, you see them, you’re suddenly curious, and you want to know happened to the building and the history behind it. It might cause people to look online or read articles about the families that have been affected.

ML: Would you say the stenciling has been effective?

EM: It seems to be effective. I think it’s been a part of a larger organized movement. What we’re doing with stenciling is bringing something representative to the real.

RG: We’ve gotten media attention with our map and an increase in attendance at our meetings. Local government is noticing the issue, too.

It’s great to see the response that we’ve received from our direct action campaigns, such as Eviction-Free San Francisco and the stenciling — they’re just different pieces working together in a larger puzzle.

ML: Can you give me an example of local government getting involved?

EM: Supervisor David Campos and Supervisor John Avalos have come out as great supporters. Campos has attended a number of rallies and spoken eloquently and powerfully, and doesn’t seem to be hiding his opinion at all.

RG: [Campos] is working on different tenant legislation and working with groups in the city.

ML: The numbers show that there have been more Owner Move-In evictions filed than Ellis Act evictions. Why give more attention to the latter?

EM: There are three kinds of no-fault evictions: Owner Move-In, Demolition and Ellis Act. The most insidious is the Ellis Act, which can evict multiple units — the difference isn’t quite as traumatic as it might seem if you just look at the petition numbers. An OMI evicts a single unit, but there could be an Ellis Act that evicts 20 units in a building.

The Ellis Act is a state law that allows landlords to go out of business. There’s a 10-year moratorium on converting apartments into condos. So what some landlords do is convert properties to a tenancy in common (TIC). This essentially “condoizes” them so speculators can clear out tenants for this purpose and allow many owners to move in. TICs are also becoming less risky for owners because some banks are willing to do fractional loans instead of a joint mortgage for the whole building.

ML: How does your group verify each location is an Ellis Act eviction?

EM: Our primary sources in investigating evictions are the databases from San Francisco Planning Department, Tenderloin Housing Clinic and San Francisco Rent Board. We also used state-assessor data, city county data and Corporate Wiki.

ML: Is it hard to research with owners often selling from LLC to LLC?

EM: Yeah, it’s so messy. It’s been going on for a while, but it’s risen exponentially in the last few years. We’ve spent multiple hours just trying to figure out one LLC.

What we’re finding with Urban Green, a real estate investment firm, is that they have five different properties and the tenants in each property are paying their rent checks to a different LLC, but they’re all funneled to the same company.

For example, you can find out the company is Urban Green, but not know who the person is, but we’ve done our research and it’s this guy, David McCloskey. Urban Green issued Ellis Act evictions for all tenants in their five buildings. What Urban Green will most likely do (though who knows for sure) is sell them individually as TICs for a lot of money.

One of Urban Green’s buildings being evicted is at 55 Dolores street, and there’s this 97-year-old woman, Mary Elizabeth Phillips, who is being evicted on her 98th birthday. It’s unbelievable.

ML: What’s up next for the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project?

EM: This month, we released a map showing all three types of evictions (OMIs, Demolition and Ellis Act). We also released a second map displaying evictions against seniors and those with disabilities, including the names of the landlord for each property.

ML: What is your hopeful outcome?

EM: We’re trying to get community involved, but as far as policy goes, it would be pretty amazing to overturn the Ellis Act in Sacramento. There’s a lot of Ellis Act reform legislation being talked about at City Hall.

A year ago, I would have imagined it would take 10 years of coalition building, but now it seems something like that would be feasible in the near future. It’s hard to do, but it’s becoming more of a possibility.

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Sarah McClure loves the colorful writing, and opportunity to connect to larger issues, that Arts & Culture reporting allows—she reads the Times’ Art Beat often. Here, she’s experiencing art on the street that the LA native is accustomed to seeing whiz-by from car windows. She is a Master's degree candidate at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, where she is specializing in multimedia, Spanish-language reporting and Latin America.

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  1. Jeez, Kevin, lighten up. I don’t like your type of landlord, at all, any more than you like my type of renter. But I don’t hate you personally. Your crazy SHOUTING jag and crazy, irrational ranting has me worried that you are mentally troubled, emotionally unstable, and physically ill. Please seek the help you need soon.

  2. Thank you Mission Local for promoting sidewalk vandalism, racism and hatred against property owners in the Mission.

      1. No, nutrisystem, you can argue that is a right to free speech, except where it rises to the level of hate speech, which looks close. But there is nothing “democratic” about a handful of extremists acting without majority approval and stereotyping those they hate.

        1. Free speech doesn’t require “majority approval”.

          The sentiments expressed in these stencils are far from extremist. My impression, based on conversations with lots of kinds of people, is that they are centrist.

          1. Nutrisystem, you wouldn’t know a “centrist” position if you tripped over it.

            You were the one who used the word “democratic” to describe this action, and I corrected that. There has been no vote or ballot on doing this, so you cannot claim that, only that the 1st amendment may protect your right to utter hate speech like this, up to a point anyway.

            Do I have a democratic right to stencil the homes of anyone I dislike? Is that your position? Where do you think such strategies could end up, if everyone did it to everyone they dislike or disagree with?

        2. Democracy is free speech and promotion of interests by EVERYONE, not just those who can buy slick print and video propaganda.

          Sidewalk art is one of the few ways the 99% can be heard at all, and it harms nothing since sidewalks are a mess anyway.

          1. OK, nutrisystem, so you advocate that poor racist whites take to stenciling outside the homes of blacks and Jews, because they too cannot afford an expensive media program?

            Got it.

        1. I could get used to reinstating the Eisenhower-era top marginal tax rate of 90%. And I’ll bet a whole lot of other people could too.

          So be careful with your class warfare – it might come back around and bite your butt.

          1. Oh boy, nutrisystem, you were born about 50 years too late. That’s really quite sad.

            In your famtasy world, Reagan never happened. Is the cold war still going on as well?

            Heck, even Obama extended the bush tax cuts, so there can be little popular support for higher rates of income tax. Most politicians get that; you do not, evidently.

    1. The irony here is that for every tenant who is evicted as part of a conversion to TIC, another tenant has an affordable home ownership opportunity.

      It’s really just one group of tenants hating on another group of tenants.

        1. We’re all trying to make a buck, so don’t come over all high and mighty.

          But I can construct a reasonable argument that the city is a net gainer here, as the incoming TIC owners are probably more economically active and viable than those displaced.

  3. Tenants rant on and on about THEIR RIGHTS. Well the ELLIS ACT is the RIGHT of landlords. So sick they want rights to property they don’t even own, but landlord rights are ignored and even persecuted by them.

    1. Housing is fundamentally different from other investments in that human lives are on the line. That’s why rules and ethics come into play.

      If you want free-wheeling capitalism, go invest in an oil well.

      1. nutrisystem, I could argue that all types of investment have some impact on other people. I might invest in a fracking company, or a defense business, or issue high-interest loans to people with bad credit.

        Again, there are other business where peoples lives depend on it, such as food, healthcare, defense, gambling, alcohol. We do not impose such restrictions on those, so why housing?

        The issue isn’t depriving anyone of a home, so much of depriving someone of a home when they cannot afford to sustainably live there.

        Housing may be a right, but a Pacific Heights flat for $500 a month is not a right.

      2. Rules and ethics have nothing to do with tenants stealing others property. It has everything to do with greedy renters voting in mss for their SELFISH self interests. The fact that they stigmatize and harass others proves they HAVE NO ETHICS

        1. To be fair, Kevin, I do not think a majority of tenants hate their landlords at all. That is far more likely to happen with rent control than otherwise, but I still think that most tenants understand that a landlord needs to make a reasonable return in order to justify staying in the rental business.

          The problem, of course, is that people will always vote for a free lunch and, for both politicians and tenants, rent control is a free lunch.

          The real problem is that tenants do not think this issue through enough. If they did, they would realize that it is not in their long-term interests to have landlords making miserly returns, because that makes it much more probable that their rental building will change use.

          I do find it very sad, however, that some here wish to force landlords to permanently give away their building at well below it’s intrinsic value. That quite simply cannot be sustainable – Ellis or no Ellis

          1. The wanna-be aristocracy (real estate, tech and otherwise) is poking at a hornets nest. And although it’s not smart, they can’t help it because they are sick with greed.

            But if they keep it up, they may end up getting stung badly. Because the last time I checked, the USA was a democracy, and the majority is getting pissed about stagnant income and rising costs.

          2. Nutrisystem, luckily the majority have more sense than you do, and realize that penalizing the successfully in an ill-considered confiscatory exercize will backfire.

            Thing is, the wealthy can go anywhere and invest anywhere. They don’t have to invest in SF RE and they don’t have to pay tax here unless they choose to.

            A big part of Detroit’s problem was that they kept taxing and taking from the rich and for business, ignoring the fact that they were all leaving.

            You cannot tax, borrow and confiscate your way to prosperity, and the voters know that. Otherwise we would have a European-style socialist system that you would presumably prefer.

  4. There are many Jewish people working for housing justice in San Francisco. I know both of these young people from their work in the community. If I am not mistaken, I believe that they might be of Jewish backgrounds themselves. Can Jews do terrible things and cause persecution..of course! But it seems a great affront to those you disagree to needless through around comparisons to Nazism.

    1. anon, the more serious problem with these stencils is that they seek to stereotype and attack a group of people. In this case, it is landlords, but it is a dangerous thing to stereotype and stigmatize any group of people.

      If the KKK went around putting stencils outside of homes where blacks live, no doubt you would be horrified. Are you suggesting that the same behavior is OK as long as the stigmatized group happens to be one that you personally disagree with?

      1. Of course, the Nazi analogy is false and offensive. So is comparing people who voluntarily own rental property (landlords) to ethnic, racial and other groups who may face oppression because of their being.

          1. IT’s legal and your rights to Ellis ACT! Stop being marginalized and made to fear exercising your legal rights by mobs of Nazis with pitch forks and stencils !

        1. Stereotyping and persecuting people for their behaviors is little different than doing the same thing because of your ethnicity.

          Should we mark the homes of felons? Those who have filed bankruptcy? Those who have defaulted on their loans or been late with their rent?

          The tactic stinks no matter what the group. Find a better way to express your alleged grievance.

  5. Never read the comment section: a maxim I too often find myself violating. I want to talk about how deeply appalling it is to analogize the eviction stencil to the persecution of the Jews during World War Two. I am housing rights’ organizer, and I also happen to be Jewish and a Gay person, meaning I likely would have died in Nazi Germany. Stepping aside from one’s opinion of the stencil, can you all see how wrong it is to compare a government separating and killing their “undesirables” and stenciling in front of a building? If you can’t, let me help you out. The stencil identifies the building, not (per se) the owner. That the landlord is non-incidentally being shamed may seem like an offensive strategy to some, and that is a different conversation. But concept that landlords are systematically being “branded” in the way that a targeted minority group has been is utter false equivalence, and is insulting to victims of Nazi genocide. I really caution people, regardless of their stance on the housing crisis, to not buy the rhetoric that landlords’ are somehow a persecuted group in this instance, or that “discrimination” is being practiced. This is thoroughly a political argument and if you think one side is being treated unfairly, you are not helping your case by using insulting and over the top comparisons.

    1. Carmen, while respecting the sentiments you expressed, there are enough straw men in that argument to form a straw men’s voice choir.

      The analogy being made was restricted to the idea that any kind of stigmatization is an unethical tactic. The example of Nazi Germany was given onyl to show where such things can lead in the extreme, and not to suggest that anyone here wants to kill all landlords.

      The principle of leaving marks outside a house isn’t massively different from the Nazi tactic of marking homes where Jews lived. I think we are better than that, and can find more positive and constructive ways of engaging the debate.

    2. It is so easy for you to rationalize stealing property and stigmatizing another person who is just exercising their LEGAL rights. You cannot see this as you are an irrational zealot…

      1. It used to be LEGAL to whip your slave.

        But then morality, ethics, and democracy stepped up and made it ILLEGAL.

        1. Yes, rent control used to be legal in the State of California BUT NOW IT IS ILLEGAL, Unfortunately San Francisco’s was grandfather in….. BUT NO NEW RENT CONTROL WILL EVER BE ALLOW#ED

  6. It’s weird to me that landlords complain about being landlords. Besides having your own place to live in, isn’t there lots of other things to invest in? If I hated being a property owner, I wouldn’t be one rather than just continuing doing it and complaining. It just lacks common sense. If it isn’t a good investment or makes you mad or miserable, why not get out? I’m not attacking landlords…it’s just common sense. If your shoes hurt your feet, you would take them off, buy new ones, etc….at least I would hope…

    1. Exactly, if you no longer want to be a landlord you can legally Ellis Act your property and no longer be a landlord. The law does not make you a slave to tenants.

    2. Being a LL in SF is a double-edged sword. Rent control can work in your favor as long as you have turnover, because it inhibits competitive supply. The rents for vacant units represent a very healthy ROI.

      And if you are a large LL, it’s also good as, the more units you have, the less it matters if you have a “lifer loser” tenant – a tenant whose main achievement in life is squatting in the same rent-controlled home for decades.

      What you do here LL’s complain about a lot is a lack of control of their properties and the adversarial nature of LL-Tt relationships that is almost inevitable with rent control. In other cities, LL#s treat TT’s as customers, to be wooed and feted. Not here.

      You are correct that other investments can give better returns with less risk and hassle. And that is why many LL’s exit the business via Ellis. While if instead theye xit by selling, chances are the new LL is nastier than the old one, because the nastier a LL is, chances are – the better he will do. Nice LL’s get taken advantage of.

  7. How self serving of rent control addicts to invent a whole new definition of property rights, that benefit them personally. The people who own property have NO rights to that property and the people who just rent that property now have ALL the rights to use said property. It’s THEFT pure and simple. These “tenant theft” groups are just stealing the property of the rightfull owners for their own selfish and greedy use. Fight back and ELLIS ACT proudly !

    1. Yeah! Let’s find the addresses of these “housing activist” bitches and stencil “Ellis Act Proudly” next to their home. How do you like ‘dem apples?

  8. 10 of 26 comments for this article from one commenter. The same one who has written about 40% of the comments in the Genentech bus article.

    Notice a trend?

    1. So 16 other commentators find sufficient virtue on those 10 posts to merit commenting themselves?

      Sounds to me like a lively, productive discussion.

      And all on topic as well, unlike a post of yours whose only purpose is to attack another contributor.

      1. Can you explain that remark, Eric. It makes no sense to me.

        I do not regard a comments section to be “ruined” just because I occasionally have to read an opinion I disagree with.

        Rather, that is the point.

        1. Sfgate is know for their cesspool of a comments section (they recently installed a new commenting system that just happened to remove all the comments ever made on the site)

          The beginning of mission local stories are posted at sfgate with a link here, so the people who comment there may now be commenting here.

          1. I don’t read SFGate but I do find that what people describe as a “cesspool” re comments may just be a statement that they personally disagree with the comments being made.

            There seems to be a lot of intolerance here, and a certain drive to impose groupthink of commentators, as if there is one one unquestionable truth and everyone else is wrong.

          2. Eric, I suggest that if you no comment relevant to the topic, that you refrain from making personal attacks, which are of course a form of trolling.

  9. These stencils merely enshrine actual events. Community-based DIY historical monuments. Similar to the PR tile work outside the VARA apartments commemorating the historical business that used to occupy the site.

    To compare stencils on the sidewalk to the patches the Nazis forced their victims (Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals,etc.) to wear
    is insulting to their memories of the murdered and to humanity in general. Something an uncritical eight year old might find compelling.

    1. Wrong yet again, landline. There are genuine commemorative monuments, that is true. But they go through a formal approval process to get installed.

      Vandalizing a private or public space with graffiti just because you disagree with a certain political view goes beyond any 1st amendment rights.

      The analogy with Jews stands because both are attempts to stigmatize one group of people, by another group of people, based on ideological prejudice.

      1. Do you get paid for each faulty analogy, by the extent to which you sidetrack the issue, or by the general obfuscation that your illogic engenders?

        You are comparing being targeted for extermination due to one’s race, ethnicity, or gender, as opposed to having been subject to minor and easily-remedied vandalism due to an unethical business decision that hurts those not as fortunate as you.

        How very porcine of you.

        1. I made no comparison. I simply gave another illustration of how stigmatization is dangerous and can lead to worse outcomes.

          This is a dumb idea, and shows the futility of those who seek to oppose actions that are perfectly legal and proper.

          1. “The analogy with Jews stands”

            An analogy is a most certainly a comparison. By definition.

            Keep digging, anti-semite racist landlord

          2. Both groups employed graphics to victimize a group of people.

            The real difference is that you are happy to persecute one group but not the other, based on your personal political outlook. And that is your own problem.

            How you can attribute anti-smiticism to someone who was clearly opposing it is beyond me, but not beyond you, evidently.

  10. Dear idiot that interviewed these moronic “housing activists:”

    Did it occur to you to ask about the legality of this graffiti? Someone should call the cops on these misguided…. I don’t even think these people are sincere. Just getting their angst out and having a cheap feel good. Total phonies.

    I mean what’s next? Why not spray shit directly on the building, break windows, stalk the “perps?” Apparently Germany 1931 is calling.

    It’s already been stated that most people that buy tics are moderate and middle class. “Rich” normally buy single family homes or fancy condos.

      1. They are certainly misguided. I suspect it is forged out of frustration that they cannot win the debates through rational discussion, and so resort to subversive tactics and anti-social behavior.

        We’re talking about a tiny fringe group here, as is evident by the way they appear to be craving attention.

  11. Fucking assholes.

    Way to vandalize the city you apparently “have the right” to live in and piss off your everyone.

    I hope you all get evicted to Stockton.

    1. In many countries Jews were forced to wear special hats, outer clothing or badges so that everyone could identify them as Jews, and presumably hate on them.

      How is this any different? The use of special markers to stigmatize one group by another group that claims special superiority is a slippery slope towards bigotry and hatred.

        1. I agree its harsh but if you keep reading: “is a slippery slope towards bigotry and hatred”. That is definitely accurate.

        2. Eric, who do these stigmata really hurt?

          Not the evictors who have long gone.

          But the hard-working tenants who buy these units as TIC’s and are now tainted for nothing more than the honest, decent desire to own their own home and have more security.

          how is branding them as evil helping anyone?

          1. Eric, if I daub the outside of your house with propaganda designed to make you look bad, how is that respecting your rights to quiet enjoyment of your home?

      1. And the hypocrisy of this fucking “news” site is a joke.

        Sidewalk Vandalism: GOOD

        Mural Vandalism: BAD

      2. It is really offensive to compare a stencil (which will fade and can be buffed) to Jews who were forced to wear stars snd killed in concentration camps.

        And because sidewalk stencils fade, even those who consider graffiti “vandalism” consider it a pretty low priority.

        Some are around for years before they completely fade.

        Though every once in a while DPW (I assume) will buff some sidewalk stencils.

        1. Steve, we can quibble about how bad one odious attempt at stigmata is compared with another.

          But what reasonable people cannot argue against is surely that we should not be vandalizing the space outside of anyone’s home just because we disagree with them.

          And remember, these residents didn’t evict anyone. Their only crime is being a tenant and wanting an affordable home ownership opportunity.

          So why beat up on them?

          1. Pointing out 6 million people were killed is different from stencils is not quibbling. How many of your relatives were killed in the Holocaust?

            And yes reasonable people can argue there is nothing wrong with a stencil on a sidewalk that there was an eviction.

            It isn’t beating up on anyone. No human was harmed by stenciling on a sidewalk

          2. Steve, since we are discussing the principle of stigmata, then any relative differences in the outcomes are not necessarily material.

            If we accept your claim that this is reasonable, then how about a stencil for the following:

            1) Tenants who have been late with his rent

            2) Convicted felons

            3) Blacks

            4) Moslems

            They are not harmed by stenciling the sidewalk, right?

            Probably the only people we can legally treat this way are registered sex offenders. Are you saying a legal eviction is like being a pedophile?

          3. Personally I favor stencils targeting know it all mission local commentators who can’t spell Muslims.

            And yes it is material if the outcome is being killed. Or surviving a concentration camp. I have known Holocaust survivors, and I don’t think you would tell them to their face their experience is not material. But then you might just be as clueless in person as you are online.

            And my critical thinking teacher in high school would have flunked a guy who says six million people dying in the holocaust is not material, but putting a stencil on a sidewalk in front of a place where an Ellis act eviction took place must be the same as saying someone sexually abused children.

            The bottom line is if any of people living in a place with a stencil in front is upset, it isn’t difficult to remove (if they’ve even noticed it).

          4. Both “moslem” and “muslim” are valid, which you should have known.

            I never claimed the outcomes were comparable. Only that the stigmatization is equally invalid in both cases.

  12. TICs are the only entry level option for many people who do not want to rent, want to own and who want to raise their families in the city. A better focus of all this anti-Ellis act energy would be to ask why rent control only effects older buildings (which all the rental Edwardians and Victorians in need of constant repair) fall under, creating a second class of property, and not new development? Increasing the supply pipeline of new units which will actually help stabilize the rental market should be the focus of anyone who truly wants to help change the current situation. Stencils are just an attempt to stigmatize TIC owners.

    1. Very true, Matt. Most buyers of TIC’s are tenants. The two people I know who bought a TIC recently – one is a teacher and one is a nurse. Are these the kind of people that these leftists want to stigmatize.

      Anyway, the stencils are easily removed.

    2. The Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act from 1995 effectively ended the ability to enact rent control on any unit that had never been under rent control. Since SF’s rent control has previously exempted several categories including new buildings, those buildings can’t be placed under rent control.

      1954.52. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, an owner of residential real property may establish the initial and all subsequent rental rates for a dwelling or a unit about which any of the following is true:
      (1) It has a certificate of occupancy issued after February 1, 1995.
      (2) It has already been exempt from the residential rent control ordinance of a public entity on or before February 1, 1995, pursuant to a local exemption for newly constructed units.

    3. State law forbids rent control on any new units….You see rent control addicst only have power in the city limits. Outside of San Francisco they are DEAD MEAT

  13. Ellis Act evictions are only an issue in San Francisco and are a direct result of our failed local housing policies.

  14. A factual error in your piece. You state that Ellised units cannot condo convert for ten years. In fact they can never condo convert under existing SF law.

    The ten year rule applies to re-renting a unit after an Ellis eviction. There are further limits to re-renting that are lifted after 5 years.

    I know of one building that was Ellis’ed in 2001, left vacant for ten years and is now re-rented again. The fact that a LL is willing to forego ten years rent shows you how strongly some owners dislike rent control, and shows one worrying unintended consequence of the policy.

    1. Actually Ellised buildings can condo convert, but only if none of the people evicted were elderly or disabled and they have six or fewer units. It doesn’t really matter, though, since the expected wait time for conversion these days is something like fifteen years.

  15. Landlords use buyouts to remove protected tenants, with a threat of Owner Move In or Ellis Act. You won’t see this in the records but I expect the numbers to be high. It was used to vacate 4 of 5 units in 3 different buildings on our block just this summer. While softer and quieter, the damage to the community is the same.

    1. Fred, a buyout can only really happen if a tenant is very happy with his payout amount and then freely and voluntarily leaves.

      With an OMI or Ellis, the tenant only gets the statutory minimum and may have legal costs if he/she tries to fight it.

      I know one tenant who recently got [aid 30K to move – probably far more money than he had ever had in his life.

      1. You’re spewing more plutocratic “let them eat cake” bile here.

        These people take the bribe because they have to. They know they’re going to get kicked to the streets otherwise. They hold out for as much as they can which will hopefully get them started somewhere else, because almost none of these people will be able to afford to live in SF any longer. Which you damn well know, are enthusiastic about, and constantly trumpet. It’s your incessant battle-cry: if a person who has lived here decades can no longer afford it here because of the damage you and your home-wrecking homies have wrought, it’s that person’s fault, and they should get the hell out.

        You have the unmitigated gall to blame the victims. I can imagine your views on rape: it’s the woman’s fault, she made me do it!

        1. The only victim here is the property owners, who has to pay thousands, or even tens of thousands, to get his own property back from a monht-to-month tenant.

          Tenants are always free to decline any offer. There is no compulsion to take an offer.

          In fact, it is a fair way out for both parties. The LL is finally free of rent control without restrictions, and the tenant gets paid for giving up his squatting rights.

        2. Renting is the temporary use of property… if you want the property for life, you buy it. Moving does not make anyone a victim, you hyperbole spouting cretins

      2. 30 grand? Oh, please. Like when you wrote that you know “illegals” who regularly vote. Got any more tales?

        1. I am not going to betray the private details of the parties involved, but it was the LL who told me the 30K figure and not the TT, so there is no reason to disbelieve him.

          For all we know, the tenant was going to leave town anyway, so the payoff was pure profit.

        2. $30,000 is very common — in fact some tenants get much more. Even with a standard Ellis Act eviction can cost a landlord up to $14.836.35 per unit, plus an additional $3,296.96 for tenants who are senior or disabled.

          1. No, 30K isn’t common. I’ve seen enough buyouts to have a decent idea what is normal.

            Personally i have done two – one for 5K and one for 10K. I’ve seen amounts up to 30K, but that is for cases where the rent is very low, the tenure is very long and the eviction might be risky e.g. a senior or disabled person.

            A “by the book” eviction, if allowable at all, will probably run a LL about %K if settled and 10K-15K if it goes to trial. So there is little reason to pay more than that.

            In fact, some LL’s would rather pay a lawyer than pay the tenant regardless, in which case the tenant gets only the absolute minimum.

          2. Oh, I should add that there is a formula that some lawyers and interested partied to compute the amount oa buyout. It’s also used for wrongful UD eviction lawsuits, and for divorces where a rent controlled tenancy is deemed a marital asset.

            You take the amount below the market rent that the actual rent is, multiply it by the number of years the tenant has been there, then halve it.

            That can be a starting point for any negotiations, although of course individual circumstances make a big difference.

            Note also that payouts are taxable to the tenant, and tax-deductible to the landlord.

      1. Personally I am comfortable with the Ellis Act. It allows property owners to get their property back, which is a fairly fundamental right and I am surprised that anyone can object to it.

        What is often missed is that the people who move into Elli’sed TIC units are invariably tenants themselves. It is a simple turnover.

          1. I look at it this way, Kevin. If all these “activists” have got is drawing dumb stencils on the sidewalk then in fact the property rights of the owners are being effectively enforced, as it should be.

            It symbolizes the impotency of those who would oppose basic property rights as enshrined in the Ellis and Costa-Hawkins acts.