Members of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® (SILVAR) are disappointed that the State Senate passed a bill yesterday that will dramatically weaken the Ellis Act in San Francisco, and could serve as a precedent for weakening the law statewide. The California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) strongly opposed SB 1439 (Leno) and SILVAR members lobbied against the measure on Legislative Day this year.

The Senate rejected SB 1439 by a slim margin on Wednesday. Leno then agreed to draft an amendment that would differentiate between small family holdings and speculators. This amendment garnered the votes necessary for the bill to pass yesterday.

C.A.R. sponsored the Ellis Act in 1985. The law allows property owners to evict tenants in order to leave the rental business. SB 1439 would require a landlord to own a building for at least five years before evicting a tenant under the Ellis Act. It would include corporate landlords and apply to all owners of the corporation. Once a property owner submits a request to Ellis Act evict, the law would prohibit them from conducting Ellis Act evictions on any property subsequently purchased.

SB 1439 only applies to the city and county of San Francisco. AB 2405, a companion bill that would have applied statewide, failed to clear the Assembly Judiciary Committee on April 29.

SILVAR members raised multiple concerns about SB 1439 with local legislators on Legislative Day. “REALTORS® explained how this bill would discourage investment in property ownership and could impact selling prices. It would also encourage owners to evict all tenants prior to putting a property up for sale because an empty property becomes more valuable. said David Tonna, president of the SILVAR. “San Francisco already has some of the most protective and expensive eviction rules in the state.”

The bill is scheduled to go before the State Assembly for deliberation this summer.