By Calvin Welch, HANC Housing and Land Use Board Member
Facing the most broad scale pressure in recent years as a result of Mayor Ed Lee's constant boosterism for the high rolling tech industry -from an increasing rate of state mandated Ellis Act evictions to historically rapid increases in rents- San Francisco tenants are “pushing back” and making some real headway in addressing their concerns.
Propelled by the overwhelming vote against the 8 Washington project last November, tenant leaders have taken the offensive in defining that victory not as some sterile anti-height vote aimed narrowly at the waterfront but instead as a cry of opposition to the assault on San Francisco’s large majority of low and middle income tenants as a result of the tech boom.
At the February 4th Supervisors meeting Supervisor David Campos introduced an ordinance that would require landlords who want to file Ellis Act evictions pay their tenants the difference between the rent on that unit and market rent for a comparable unit in the same neighborhood, for two years. This follows Supervisors Mar's proposed legislation introduced last month which would raise the bar locally on tenants-in-common conversions by requiring that the Planning Department review conversions to make sure the units are up to code and require a finding of “extraordinary circumstances” before approval of the conversion.