Court blocks eviction protections for teachers

A San Francisco Superior Court judge has blocked a city ordinance protecting school employees from evictions during the school year, ruling that it was in conflict with state law.

A ruling issued Wednesday by Judge Ronald Quidachay ordered the city to set aside the ordinance, which was approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in May, finding that it conflicted with state law.

In his ruling, Quidachay said the ordinance appeared to specifically affect when landlords could evict tenants, rather than which class of tenants could be affected.

Since state law governs the procedures governing the termination of a tenancy, including the timing and notification period, “the ordinance is preempted and invalid on its face,” Quidachay wrote.

The ordinance, introduced by Supervisor David Campos and approved unanimously by the Board of Supervisors in May, prohibited most no-fault evictions during the school year against employees at San Francisco schools and childcare centers or families with school-age children.

The San Francisco Apartment Association and Small Property Owners of San Francisco filed a lawsuit in June challenging the ordinance.

San Francisco Apartment Association director Janan New said in a statement that the legislation was written so broadly that it “prevented property owners from making major rehabilitations to their property anytime from September to June, and made it illegal for a homeowner to move into his or her own home for three quarters of the calendar year.”

A spokeswoman for the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office today said the office was “disappointed with the ruling.” “We will carefully review the judge’s order and discuss with our clients possible next steps,” city attorney’s office spokeswoman Andrea Guzman said.

The legislation was introduced in response to a housing crisis that is creating a shortage of teachers, paraprofessionals and other educational and childcare personnel in San Francisco.

With starting salaries for teachers at less than $3,400 a month, San Francisco Unified School District officials have struggled to fill vacancies and find substitute teachers.

A previous city ordinance, introduced by Supervisor Eric Mar in 2009, protects families with children under 18 from owner move-in evictions during the school year. That legislation was not affected by today’s ruling, Guzman said.

Campos could not be reached immediately for comment.