Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco
Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco

In the next seven days, a major threat to the Ellis Act is expected to either win Senate approval or die on the Senate floor.

We’re counting on you, our members, to help ensure the latter.

Here’s the urgency: Friday, May 30, is the deadline for bills to pass out of their house of origin. Those that do will then go to the other house for consideration.

So any day now, Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is expected to push for a Senate vote on SB 1439, an assault on property rights that would weaken a landlord’s ability to quit the rental housing business.

As Leno lobbies his fellow senators for yes votes, the California Apartment Association asks that you take a few minutes of your holiday weekend to write to your district senators and strongly urge a no vote on 1439.

SB 1439 is a direct attack on the Ellis Act, a law passed in 1985 that bars local governments from making property owners stay in the rental housing industry.

Ellis especially protects owners of rental properties in rent controlled cities, where landlords can find themselves operating at a loss.

Under Leno’s bill, San Francisco would be authorized to place the Ellis Act out of reach for newer property owners. For example, someone who purchases a rental property in San Francisco would have to wait at least five years before removing his or her rental units from the market — even if the owner is losing money.

Owners wanting to move themselves or their families into their own units also would be denied access to Ellis until they’ve met the five-year ownership requirement.

While Leno’s bill applies specifically to San Francisco, it promises to spread to other rent controlled communities in California. Already, Los Angeles has shown interest in pursuing a similar measure. No matter where you live in California, you have a stake in killing SB 1439.

Background stories

  • CAA posts website to educate public on Ellis Act