City Of Santa Monica Backs Potential Ellis Act Reform

Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014, 9:15:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

A city known for its favorable rent control practices hopes to be included in legislative reform making it tougher for property owners in Santa Monica and across the State to evict rent-controlled tenants in order to sell the property or otherwise take it off the rental market.

The Santa Monica City Council last Tuesday unanimously backed a request by council member Kevin McKeown to request the City’s staff and lobbyists in Sacramento to ensure Santa Monica would be allowed to opt-in to potential Ellis Act reform.

Adopted as State law in 1985, the Ellis Act allows landlords and property owners to evict tenants from their respective properties if they choose to take it off the rental market. The State law was used to give property owners the opportunity to sell the building.

The Ellis Act, according to the San Francisco Tenants Union, “is a state law which says that landlords have the unconditional right to evict tenants to ‘go out of business.’”

The San Francisco Tenants Union added: “Ellis Act evictions generally are used to ‘change the use’ of the building. Most Ellis evictions are used to convert rental units to condominiums.”

Ellis Act evictions have often been used to circumvent rent control restrictions, hence why Santa Monica is now seeking to be included in any reform of the almost 30-year-old State law.

Parallel pieces of legislation are already in circulation in both the City and County of San Francisco.

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