A new analysis prepared for Supervisor Campos has determined that the effective number of eviction proceedings filed in San Francisco last year was 73 percent higher than reported to the City’s Rent Board, and that’s a number you’re likely to start hearing bandied about.

The drivers of the difference between the 1,981 eviction notices reported to San Francisco’s Rent Board in 2013 and the 3,423 Unlawful Detainer filings reported by the Superior Court, however, are important to understand: Evictions from non-rent controlled units do not need to be reported to the Rent Board, nor do evictions for non-payment of rent.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by FCampos

    Erin McElroy’s head just exploded.

  2. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    Scandal! Number of evictions are 73% undercounted! Lets what Campos can do to help the victims, that is the landlords who are owned unpaid rent.

  3. Posted by SFHelmut

    So now it is bad to be evicted if you do not pay your rent?

  4. Posted by Jackson

    Wow. Just when I thought Campos could not get any more leftist, he surprises again. Next he will introduce legislation for the City to pay your rent.

  5. Posted by Hitman

    Jackson-
    Comrade Campos is not done – he will probably introduce legislation for landlords to pay all tenants – oh wait… he already did that

  6. Posted by Jon

    Headline should read: “How SF Rent Board Stats Undercounted Evictions By 42% Last Year”
    3,423 is 73% more than 1,981.
    1,981 is 42% less than 3,423.
    That is all.

  7. Posted by lol

    Any piece of data is grounds for La Revolucion for Campos

  8. Posted by S

    If a unit is not rent controlled (ie built after 79 or it’s a condo/SFH) a landlord can raise the rent an exorbitant amount to get a tenant out (presumably to sell vacant). I wonder if that scenario is behind the figures for non payment of rent?

  9. Posted by anon

    Did we seriously spend taxpayer money for this…”analysis”? Here it is: about half of all evictions are for deadbeat tenants not paying rent or they pertain to units not covered by rent control, and therefore about half of all evictions are not reported to the Rent Board because they don’t have to be.
    Man, this city is awesome at wasting taxpayer dollars.

  10. Posted by lol

    Yes, this is a waste.
    Campos is using OPM to make a study that will inevitably lead to him extracting OPM for his constituents.
    I think he needs attention. “Look at me, I am the Great Denouncer of Injustice and Capitalist Abuse”.
    Expect a new legislation to restrict and punish in 3, 2, 1…

  11. Posted by Keepitup

    Look, it’s simple. It’s a race for Ammiano’s vacant Assembly tush. It election season…Compos and Chui are in a race to see which one can out due the other sucking up to the last remaining rent controlled tenants left in SF.
    Nothing to see here folks….move along now.

  12. Posted by soccermom

    The explanation of the difference is even simpler.
    An ‘Unlawful Detainer’ is a legal action a property owner takes in court to get back his property from a party who has unlawful possession of that property.
    An ‘eviction’ is when the sheriff or whoever shows up to carry out an act of the court if the party in possession won’t leave voluntarily.
    There are plenty of Unlawful Detainer cases that do not lead to evictions enforced by public safety. Lose an Unlawful Detainer and don’t want to be evicted? IT’S SIMPLE. YOU FOLLOW THE COURT’S INSTRUCTIONS AND MOVE OUT.
    And as stated above, an Unlawful Detainer is used to take possession of a property when a tenant stops paying. This is not a protected class.
    Equating ‘Unlawful Detainers’ with ‘Evictions’ is nearly as false as suggesting that tenants who move out voluntarily in exchange for a monetary payout have been ‘Displaced.’
    I think the real question is why the Board of Supervisors et al. doesn’t open their chambers and personal homes to constituents of lower means in the face of our dire housing crisis.
    I mean, that’s what they ask private property owners to do, right? Provide quality safe housing at a price that does not represent the market value of a home?

  13. Posted by soccermom

    I just started to actually read the document. It’s so biased it’s tough to believe:
    “Eviction notices fall into one of two categories:
    1) 3-day Notices to Cure or Quit; or
    2) 30-, 60- or 90-day Notices Terminating Tenancy.”
    Notices to quit are not ‘Eviction notices.’ Again, there are many steps in between. If anyone wants to quantify evictions, they should be examining how many Sheriff-posted “Notices To Vacate” were issued, not Unlawful Detainer suits.
    Even the San Francisco Tenants Union appreciates the distinction, or has some idea what they are talking about:
    http://www.sftu.org/eviction.html

  14. Posted by SF guy

    @soccermom – I would disagree. Any notice terminating tenancy is generally understood to be an “eviction notice”. In fact, a “notice to quit” and an “eviction notice” are used interchangeably in the industry. A sheriff posted “notice to vacate” is generally called a “sheriff’s notice”.

  15. Posted by soccermom

    @SFGuy – Do you mean the industry of people who don’t know what they are talking about? The industry of politicians and hack landlords who try to scare tenants into believing the sheriff is coming the next day unless they do X? Maybe you are correct then. I would not venture to guess standards of practice in an ‘industry’ of clowns.
    Otherwise, if you mean people who explain even-handedly that no one ever has a sheriff show up on their doorstep without their case being heard in a court of law, decided on the merits and then been given time to make arrangements to leave with civility, then you are wrong. That legal process is how the system actually works. ‘Unlawful Detainer’ is not the same as an Eviction.
    Our city’s ‘legislative analyst’ is incorrectly using this terminology in a ‘report’ funded by city tax revenues to heighten a political argument proffered by one supervisor.
    The choice of words matters. No one is evicted by force unless she disobeys a court order from a judge.

  16. Posted by SF guy

    @soccermom- Yeah, I don’t disagree with your argument that there is a difference between a tenant receiving a “notice to vacate” versus a tenant being “evicted”. My point is simply that describing a notice to quit as an “eviction notice” is how these notices are commonly described (i.e. – in court, by judges, who preside over UDs), and I see nothing wrong with the usage of that word in the report.

  17. Posted by soccermom

    @SFGuy – I didn’t argue that a ‘notice to vacate’ was different from an eviction. I argued that sheriff ‘Notices to Vacate’ were a closer quantifiable proxy for evictions than unlawful detainer suits. Once the sheriff posts a ‘notice to vacate’ a possessor really is close to being evicted.
    I have never heard anyone (other perhaps than a pro se defendant) in a court setting describe a notice to quit as ‘eviction papers.’
    Are you as comfortable when Fox News calls Obamacare ‘the death panel law?’ Is that acceptable because it is commonplace? In my book, being purposefully misleading is awfully close to lying.

  18. Posted by SF Guy

    @soccermom – Yeah, you did argue that a notice to vacate is different from an eviction.
    “Notices to quit are not ‘Eviction notices”
    posted by: soccermom at April 16, 2014 5:23 PM
    If you think an “eviction” is exclusively what happens when the sheriff enforces a writ by forcibly removing a tenant, I’d say that’s a unique interpretation. The “eviction process” may involve an eviction notice, an unlawful detainer, a sheriff’s notice, etc., but to argue that someone who moves out after receiving a 60-day notice to vacate hasn’t been “evicted”, because they didn’t contest the notice in court, seems misleading. Data quantifying the number of tenants being told to move out of their rental units seems much more useful than data on the number of tenants ignoring a court order.

  19. Posted by soccermom

    Sheriff’s notice to vacate is different from a landlord’s notice to quit or pay rent. Read up.

  20. Posted by anon2

    “No one is evicted by force unless she disobeys a court order from a judge.”
    Defining eviction as “eviction by force” doesn’t seem at all helpful. The common usage of eviction meaning a situation where a tenant is involuntarily forced to vacate a unit at the behest of a landlord is more useful here.
    Bundling evictions from non RC units and evictions for non-payment with other types of evictions does seem a bit misleading.
    But the real issue is that looking at notices to cure or quit and/or unlawful detainer’s likely overstates the numbers of actual evictions since not all of these will result in actual evictions. i.e. a tenant could get a notice to cure or quit and then simply pay the rent owed or fix whatever the problem is. And not all unlawful detainers filed will result in the tenant leaving.

  21. Posted by soccermom

    I think defining ‘evictions by force’ is a very important distinction. Evictions are such a potent political issue because the idea of sheriffs showing up on a doorstep and turning people out in the street is and ought to be a very serious matter, and not conflated with a panoply of legal documents used to govern tenant-landlord relationships.
    I have signed as a tenant and as a landlord leases that provide means by which the landlord can terminate the lease unilaterally. I have had leases ended though I have never been evicted.
    The notion that if one is a renter and and is asked legally to end her tenancy under the provisions of the lease and the law that she somehow has been wronged is bogus. Would not then any lease be termed ‘eviction papers’ if the document provides terms under which a tenancy can be ended by the property owner?
    I agree that (back to the topic) as a data point the biggest problem of equating UD suits with evictions is one of overcounting.

  22. Posted by SF Guy

    @soccermom – for units in SF subject to the local rent ordinance, any lease term allowing a landlord to “unilaterally” terminate the tenancy without one of the prescribed “just-causes” to EVICT is void. So those notices aren’t included in any Rent Board totals.
    And anyways, I think the number of tenants asked to move out of their units (even if by the terms of their lease) is important, useful, information. It doesn’t necessarily mean that someone has been “wronged”, legally, or morally, but it’s a useful data set for tracking housing and occupancy trends – which is what this report was designed to do. You keep missing the point.

  23. Posted by conifer

    All the new looney proposals (airbnb, huge payments for Ellis) confirm what anyone who has read this site regularly now knows.
    It is unwise and imprudent, lacking a large legal and managerial department, to get involved with residential rental property in San Francisco.
    The only hope for current mom & pop owners is to pray that the current building boom, perhaps the largest ever in the history of the city, will bring enough new voters to oust the extremists.
    The unexpected element is that many tech workers, rich themselves, claim that the “artists” [that is, other middle class people, just not as rich] are being forced out. Some techies align themselves with the looney left to protect their fellows of the middle classes.

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