Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 7 / 15 February 2018

New SF eviction exemption includes LGBT families

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors have unanimously passed legislation designed to protect families with children under 18 from owner move-in evictions.

The legislation, which the supervisors voted for Tuesday, January 26, includes people with custody of a child and their domestic partners.

However, the legislation also includes an amendment that allows the evictions as long as they don’t take place during the school year.

Supervisor Eric Mar (pictured at left), a sponsor of the proposal, said the amendment came after conversations with other supervisors, the Mayor’s office, and groups such as the San Francisco Apartment Association.

He called the amendment “a major watering down” but said it still offers “a significant protection for families.”

Tommi Avicolli Mecca, a longtime queer activist who works with the Housing Rights Committee, agrees the legislation’s been weakened, and questioned its effectiveness.

“I wonder how many queer parents in San Francisco who live in apartments feel better their kids can’t be evicted during the school year but can be evicted during the summer,” said Avicolli Mecca.

He added, “To me it’s kind of like saying we’re going to pass gay rights legislation, but it’s only going to apply on Fridays.”

It isn’t clear how many families with children have been affected by owner move-ins.

Janan New, executive director of the San Francisco Apartment Association, said the legislation involves a “very small, small sector of the housing market.”

Based on data from the city’s Rent Board and other sources, the city’s legislative analyst’s office estimated at least 18 families were affected by owner move-in evictions from 2008 to 2009. The office calculated a high range of over 45.

The analyst’s office noted the Rent Board data don’t include verbal owner move-in eviction notices, and Avicolli-Mecca said the evictions are “vastly underreported.”

The city’s current rent ordinance applies to most rental housing built before June 1979. Under that ordinance, an owner or their immediate family member can move in and evict the current tenant.

The prohibition wouldn’t apply in some cases, such as where the landlord only owns one rental unit in the building.

Tenants already protected in the rent ordinance include those who’re over 60 who’ve lived in their units for at least 10 years.

The legislation is expected to be up for a final vote Tuesday, February 2.

For more information, visit the Board of Supervisors online.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, January 27, 2010 @ 5:07 pm PST
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