Campos proposes bill to aid evicted tenants

CITY HALL — Long-term San Francisco residents evicted under the Ellis Act would receive higher compensation from landlords under legislation proposed by San Francisco Supervisor David Campos.

In an effort to keep evicted tenants in The City, the Campos bill would require landlords to pay relocation payments amounting to the difference between the tenant’s current rent and market rate rents for two years.

Supervisor Campos spoke at a press conference Monday morning along with tenants facing eviction and a group of tenant advocates:

“Almost every renter in San Francisco is just one eviction notice away from being displaced from our city. It is time that we recognize that tenants must receive assistance that is commensurate with market increases in rent if we are to truly address our affordability crisis and check the rampant growth of Ellis Act evictions.”

Current city laws require relocation amounts of about $5,200 per tenant, capped at $15,783 per unit plus an additional $3,508 for elderly or disabled tenants. These amounts are enough to pay for about three months of current market rate rents.

The average rental price for all apartments in San Francisco was $3,414, and the average home price is more than $1 million, according to a Budget and Legislative Analyst report on the displacement crisis in San Francisco.

The Ellis Act is a state law that allows landlords to evict tenants as way of getting out of the business of being a landlord. The law is often used as method of removing a building from rent control status.

61-year-old Rosemarie Guitron-Diaz has been told she must move out of the apartment she has lived in for 17 years by March 15. But, Campos’s bill might save the long-time Mission resident from having to leave The City she has come to love:

“It’s my community and I’ve seen it go through amazing changes. I’ve never asked for a lot of things, but friends and family and now that’s being taken away from me.”

Guitron-Diaz, who doesn’t own a car, has taken to swimming in the nearby community pool as a way to control her anxiety. She questions the wisdom of moving out of the city she has known her entire life.

Additional relocation payments would allow her to compete for an apartment in a city where every vacancy often has a long list of applicants willing to pay rent in advance.

The Campos bill would also help residents like Theresa Flandrich who is facing eviction from her apartment in North Beach where she’s lived for the last 30 years and has watched the neighborhood children grow up:

“I want to stay in my community where I live, where they love me and it’s being destroyed. When are we going to stop letting the speculators destroy families.”