Board of Supervisors Passes Enhanced Relocation Payments for Ellis Act; City Attorney Declines To Enforce; Rent Board Waiting Patiently

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The City of San Francisco recently passed Ordinance 68-15, requiring enhanced relocation payments for non-fault evictions based on the Ellis Act – their second attempt in two years to conform required relocation payments to the differentials in rental rates that displaced tenants will face on the open market. This attempt is an effort to address the concerns of the courts in Levin v. CCSF and Jacoby v. CCSF, each of which recently invalidated the prior attempt.

The new law, operative June 14, 2015, was bizarrely made retroactively applicable as of June 1, 2014, by grafting the new law onto the old framework. Despite the retroactivity, the City has chosen not to enforce the new law, pending the outcome of their appeal on the prior law – although it is not clear why. As a result, the Rent Board, which is required to provide “tenant declaration” forms for landlords to give to tenants prior to initiating an Ellis withdrawal, has no declaration forms available to allow landlords to comply.