Leno’s Ellis Act bill passes Judiciary Committee

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As expected, a bill that would hinder a landlord’s right to take rental units off the market in San Francisco advanced from the Judiciary Committee this week. It next goes to the Senate floor.

SB 1439 by state Senator Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, would undermine the Ellis Act, a 1985 law that bars local governments from making landlords stay in the rental housing business.

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

On Monday, Leno’s bill passed the Judiciary Committee by a 5 to 2 vote — no surprise in light of the political leanings of the committee. CAA remains confident it can defeat SB 1439 on the Senate floor.

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.

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  • If SB1439 passes, couldn’t the sellers just Ellis Act as a condition of sale once in contract?