Tenants

Leno's Ellis Act reform bill clears first legislative hurdle

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Sen. Mark Leno’s Senate Bill 1439 — which would protect rent-controlled housing in San Francisco by amending the Ellis Act, including making property owners wait at least five years after buying a property to evict tenants under the act — cleared its first legislative hurdle today.

The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee passed the measure on a 6-4 vote, and it heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee next. The bill has strong support in San Francisco, from progressive constituencies through Mayor Ed Lee to support by leaders in the business community and tech world.Read more »

Is Airbnb's day of reckoning in SF on its way?

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The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office is finally preparing to take action against the illegal short-term housing rentals facilitated by Airbnb, something we’ve been hearing that the Examiner also reports in today’s issue, an action that would address the company’s apparent stall tactics.Read more »

A radical proposal: Squat Airbnb hosts' homes to create affordable housing

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When I interviewed attorney Joseph Tobener for the story in our current issue on Airbnb being used to take affordable housing units off of the apartment market, he had a interestingly radical idea for get the attention of this scofflaw company and its political supporters, striking a blow for housing justice in the process.

What if hundreds of people, including many who are now homeless, rented out apartments in San Francisco for a night or two and then simply refused to leave?Read more »

Tenant groups propose sweeping package to ease the "eviction epidemic"

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Tenant advocates today proposed a sweeping set of legislative proposals to address what they’re calling the “eviction epidemic” that has hit San Francisco, seeking to slow the rapid displacement of tenants by real estate speculators with changes to land use, building, rent control, and other city codes.Read more »

Mayor Lee responds to political furor with more funding to fight evictions

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We’re not sure whether it was the high-profile recent protests against the eviction of the Lee family, our well-read “City Hall must address rising rents” editorial or Read more »

Rent Board Commissioner called a bad landlord, sued for $125,000 in damages

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San Francisco renter Deborah Silverman has found herself in a kind of mousetrap. Silverman says she was driven out of her apartment of more than 10 years because of a mouse infestation caused by the unit below her, and she alleges that her landlord, Bart Murphy – who is also a Rent Board Commissioner – failed to address the problem after numerous complaints.Read more »

Everyone but Mayor Lee sees SF's worsening "housing affordability crisis"

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There was a clear theme that ran through yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting from beginning to end, something understood equally by renters, homeowners, and politicians from across the political spectrum: San Francisco has a crisis of housing affordability that is forcing people from the city.Read more »

The myth of a pro-tenant city

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There are always bad tenants. Always will be. Human interactions are imperfect, and renting out a room in your flat or a flat under your apartment to a stranger is always a bit of a gamble. I've lived with housemates, and it's always been great, but not everyone has that experience -- one old friend of mine lived with a guy who threatened to kill him by writing demonic messages in blood on the bathroom wall and then smashed his car to bits with a street sign.Read more »

Rival condo conversion measures finally up for board vote

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Controversial condominium conversion lottery bypass legislation is finally headed for a vote by the full Board of Supervisors this Tuesday. Befitting legislation that has stirred strong emotions and traveled a twisting political path over the last six months, there are new dramas and uncertainties cropping up at the last minute, including the lingering unknown of where Mayor Ed Lee stands.Read more »

Why rent control works

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I shouldn't even bother to talk about this, because all it will do is stir up the trolls, but I'm getting sick of all the talk about rent control being a source of San Francisco's housing problem. The latest is an editorial in the Business Times, which I buy to read J.K. Dineen's stories about commercial real-estate, among other things. I should treat it like the Wall Street Journal; nobody takes the Journal's editorial page seriously.Read more »