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February 19, 2005 was moving day for evicted tenants at 424-434 Francisco Street in North Beach.

California's Ellis Act was passed in 1986, ostensibly to allow small property owners to get out of the rental business. In practice, however, the Ellis Act is routinely used to evict long term tenants in order to turn properties over for hefty profits. On February 19, 2005, Assemblyman Mark Leno introduced legislation to curb Ellis Act abuse. Leno's bill would limit Ellis Act evictions to landlords who have owned for at least five years. If passed, the bill would prevent people who have no intention of being landlords from buying rental properties for the purpose of shaking tenants out of rent controlled units. A full 25% of tenants evicted under the Ellis Act are senior citizens. According to Leno and members of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, two-thirds of Ellis Act evictions are motivated by profits for speculators. Leno's measure to close the speculator's loophole would preserve an important affordable housing option in San Francisco. For an opposing viewpoint, visit landlord.com. According to that web site, "rent control in any form stinks."

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Copyright 2005 Hank Donat
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