(Repeats for wider distribution)
By Laila Kearney
SAN FRANCISCO Feb 5 A San Francisco councilman
proposed a law on Tuesday that would require a landlord evicting
tenants from a rent-controlled building to subsidize their rents
for two years after they relocated.
The West Coast city, a global technology hub, is one of the
nation's priciest rental markets, where officials are making
efforts to stem evictions and prevent an exodus of tenants in
search of cheaper housing.
"It is urgent that we act today to help evicted tenants
continue to live in our city," said San Francisco Supervisor
David Campos, who introduced the ordinance at the group's
meeting on Tuesday.
His proposal evokes the Ellis Act, a California law that
allows property owners to evict tenants if they want to take a
building off the rental market.
It states that, in case of such evictions, a landlord would
be obliged to pay for two years the difference between the rent
he was charging and what his former tenants would pay for
comparable accommodation on the open market.
Campos' proposal, which has drawn fire on cost and
implementation grounds from landlords and developers, is still
at the committee stage. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who would
need to sign it into law, has supported making Ellis Act
evictions more expensive for landlords.
San Francisco currently requires landlords using the act for
eviction to pay each tenant relocation assistance amounts of
$5,261 - with a cap of $15,783 per accommodation unit - and an
additional $3,508 for each elderly or disabled evictee.
Under Campos' proposal, landlords would pay tenants the
projected rate increases - as calculated by the city controller
- or the standard $5,261, whichever was greater.
Evictions in the city rose 25 percent to 1,716 in the 12
months to February 2013, city officials said.
The median rent on a two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco
rose 10 percent over the last year to $3,250, according to
online real-estate company Trulia.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney in San Francisco; Writing by Eric
M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by John Stonestreet)