Senator Leno (Temporarily) Abandons Ellis Act Reform

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KQED reports that California State Senator Mark Leno has abandoned his recent attempt to “overhaul the Ellis Act” to ease displacements in his Senate District. His proposed amendment would require landlords to own the rental property for five years before seeking to exit the rental business. This April, SB 364 failed to pass by a narrow margin, despite having the support of Mayor Lee and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Leno’s bill aimed to curtail the use of the Ellis Act by real estate speculators, and while groups like the San Francisco Association of Realtors have committed to work with Leno to find a middle ground, critics believe the proposed change would have merely encourage existing owners to “clear out” rental units before selling. That said, Leno’s bill was only one vote shy of making it out of the Transportation and Housing Committee this time, and he is expected to try again this January.