Seeking “to ensure that real estate speculators in San Francisco do not buy rent-controlled property and empty it of long-term tenants” and written to freeze Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco until a landlord has owned a building for at least five years, Mark Leno’s Senate Bill 1439 cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday in a 5-2 vote.
In addition to the five-year ownership hurdle, Senate Bill 1439 would:
1. prohibit any owner of a building for which an Ellis Act notice has been submitted from withdrawing any other property that he or she acquired after submitting the notice for the former property;
2. prohibit an owner from acting in concert directly or indirectly with a co-owner, successive owner, prospective owner, or other person to circumvent the above prohibitions;
3. require an owner submitting an Ellis Act notice to identify each person or entity with an ownership interest in the building, including persons with an ownership interest in a corporate entity; and
4. provide that a violator of any of these provisions is liable to the tenant for actual damages, special damages of at least $2,000 for each violation, and reasonable attorney fees and court costs as determined by the court.
Next stop, the Senate floor from which a similar bill proposed in 2007 did not emerge.