No-Fault Evictions in San Francisco, 2005-2014

Over the past ten years, a total of 5,470 rent-controlled housing units have been cleared of tenants and removed from the rental market in San Francisco by way of no-fault evictions, including owner move-ins, Ellis Acts, condo conversions and demolitions.

The greatest number of no-fault evictions, 764 or 14 percent the overall total, have occurred in the Mission, followed by the Richmond (656/12%) and Northeast San Francisco (595/11%).

52 thoughts on “A Decade Of Evictions In San Francisco By District And Type”
  1. Is there a chart that shows how many total units are available in each named area so we can do a percentage of each area’s units undergoing each type of change?

    1. That’s absolutely essential to understand this. Also the names don’t make any sense – where’s “Central” SF? I think South Central is in LA.

          1. then Planning would have to rejigger all its records after each census updated the Supe maps.

    1. Seriously. More people commuting from outer ring suburbs, and more homeless people, will really improve everyone’s quality of life. What would John Galt do, right man?

  2. Oh my god – 5,470 rent-controlled housing units have been cleared of tenants!!!! Make it stop!!!!

    This is a complete non-issue. There are around 175,000 rent-controlled units in SF. So about 3/10 of a percent are removed each year. It will take about 350 years to turn them all over at this rate. And the single highest cause is owners moving into their unit – nobody in their right mind could argue that is a bad thing. Astonishing how much political capital has been spent on this non-problem. But, as I’ve said many times, most of the residents – i.e. voters – in those 175,000 units are going to want to preserve their status quo, and that an issue is fabricated won’t sway them or the politicians who need their votes.

    1. I think your math is a bit off JR – that’s not 3/10 – that’s 3%, and with our glacial building process in SF that seems to be a lot. Also, aren’t OMI allowed for “family members” as well, which can mean evicting a unit for a friend / new tenant and claiming your mom / daughter moved in? I think the actual cases where a building owner moves into a unit are much smaller than the number listed here.

      1. No, most owners wouldn’t risk doing a relative move in eviction and then rent it out; they can get sued mucho dinero for that. Most OMI and RMI evictions are legit.

      2. fyi – I own a 4 unit building but since I don’t live there, no OMI to let one of my kids live there is allowed. I could transfer ownership to them, but the tenants would go to the Rent board and tell them I only did it so I could evict them (which would be right) so one kid moved to LA and the other to London. I love SF 🙂

    2. Wait .. seriously? These numbers seem crazily low. How do people get away with so much fear-mongering about no-fault evictions? Grrrrr ..

      Thank you SocketSite .. I’m surprised I haven’t seen this report before, but it’s nice to hear about actual facts and data that can help put things in perspective. I’m very sympathetic to people losing their homes and neighborhoods, and I’d like the city to adopt progressive policies that preserve culture and the things that make SF a great place to live. However, the degree to which we demonize and hogtie property owners is really damaging the city.

      I’ve mentioned before and will mention again – I am a property owner, and I have tons of extra space in my house. I will NEVER rent it out through standard means, because everything I know about tenants rights here scares the crap out of me and exposes me to way more liability than I think is reasonable. I think it’s horrible that I’m so disincentivized from doing it; it harms me since it’s harder for me to get productive use of the space, and it harms the city for the same reason. I’ve talked to others—my story is extremely common.

      I don’t want to fix this because I want more money – I’m already exceedingly fortunate just to own property here. It’s just such a terrible, terrible waste for the city. I could be contributing to housing stock, more density, lower prices, and instead I’m just sitting on space because that’s a game I don’t dare get into. In most other cities this is not a problem. Have more space? Rent it out. Not here. I wish the hyper-progressives would hear the voice of reason. Free the market a little bit, please.

      1. Uh, hey. Psst. If you LIVE in the same house as your tenants. You are NOT subject to rent control OR to just-cause eviction laws. My understanding, correct me anyone if I am wrong, is that goes for small multi unit buildings, up to 4 units total, IF the owner occupies one of the units.

          1. I stand corrected. But if it’s a 1 unit owner occupied SFR, in that case rent control and just cause don’t apply. Admittedly a tiny niche.

        1. I think his comments are applicable to “roommate” situations, such as he seems to be describing. Fact is, Gee Ess is right. The rules here are so complex and potentially onerous, that his risk is way in excess of the reward.

          If the City would conduct an experiment and declare that – going forward – future rentals would only be subject to CA reqs, we might see a considerable explosion of new housing opportunities.

  3. Agreed. This chart lacks a depth of perspective.

    Also, terrible article title, Socketsite. Snark, sass, and craftily appropriated colloquialisms are not your strong suit, and are borderline offensive, so just stick to the basics, please.

    [Editor’s Note: Where do we begin?]

      1. I think Socketsite is getting a bit more mainstream traction. This isn’t always a good thing for message boards.

        1. Agreed. “Never read the bottom half of the internet” they say. Socketsite has always been one of the main exceptions, but we shall see, we shall see…

    1. What depth and perspective are you looking for? I learned a lot just staring at it for a couple of minutes.

    1. A lot. About 180,000 total RC units in SF. 5470 over 10 YEARS is a drop in the bucket. This is a non issue that gets inflated to ridiculous proportions in crazy town.

  4. The mission has less than 7% of the total SF housing units. Richmond has 10%. Northeast has about 11%. Breakdown from Table I-22: Housing Stock by Planning District and Structure Size, San Francisco, 2013 (pdf at namelink). FWIW, these 5470 units are about 3% of the total rent controlled units in SF. Each one may be a big deal for those directly involved, but how big an impact are these on the market or the city at a rate of 3% per decade?

  5. i would love for these numbers to get higher, and think the policies being proposed by Campos and ilk will push them higher. having more owners in SF will help the city be a better place to live.

  6. Apologies for the morbidness of these calculations but they provide some perspective on additional reasons people vacate apartments. I’m not a proponent of no-fault evictions but I think the issue is often blown out of scale. These are rough numbers that I could find in 5 minutes.

    837,442 SF population (2013)
    379,597 total housing units (2014)
    172,000 rent controlled units (in 2014 according to Spur)
    172k / 380k = 45% of SF population lives in rent controlled apartments (837k x 45% = 379k people )

    0.78% of people in the US die each year (according to Huffpo)
    379k * 0.78% = 2.9k people in rent control apartments pass away each year compared to 547 no-fault evictions on average.

    1. Nice numbers! Plainly the solution is a ballot initiative that makes it illegal for a rent-controlled tenant to die.

      1. It’s hard to make it illegal for tenants to die, but at the very least we should have large protests at their funerals to shame them for causing SF to lose part of its affordable housing stock.

  7. Them numbers would be astronomically higher if there were not so many protections and restrictions on rental stock.

    1. Not really. Take away an auto entitlement like rent control (remember, even well off people get it) and you take away the motivation for these evictions. Overall rent in the city would be lower, and more balanced among all units. Now it’s all over the map, 2/1’s ranging from $4500 for newbies to $800 for some old geezer living in an RC unit from the 80’s!

          1. So what? You paid less for the building because of the tenant, right? Don’t think the discount was big enough? Blame yourself for making a poor financial decision not a tenant for playing by the rules.

            If you don’t want to deal with rent controlled tenants, don’t buy a building that’s under rent control.

          2. Anna,

            Please remember that the same attitude can be applied when a landlord decides to “play by the rules” and Ellis Acts a building. Is it the landlords fault that the tenant made a “poor financial decision” by assuming that they could continue to pay below market rent?

            You could just as easily state, “if you don’t want to find yourself evicted after many years in your home, don’t live in a rent controlled apartment.”

          3. No B, because there are numerous ways to get rid of said ‘old geezer’ tenant. Legal or not. Live by the sword of RC, die by the sword.

          4. yes, Anna, I realize that I paid less for the property because of the protected tenant. You inserted a whole lot of self-righteous stuff at me. Kinda wondering why? no, not really. This town is full of people who think they know everything. newsflash, you don’t.

          5. The corollary to Anna’s admonishing is that owner’s of rent controlled buildings are not entitled to full fair market value upon sale nor can they raise rents. That is called servitude. Servitude for the entitled.

    2. I agree with Eddy, as usual.
      But as I have said many times, anyone buying a rent controlled building any time in the last 20 years should have known the rules, however irrational they may be. Rent controlled buildings are not for mom & pop, unless they are very sophisticated and have a plan. Nowadays, especially, no one but a well-financed and well-lawyered outfit should buy any SF residential building except a single family house to live in. If there are tenants, do not buy!

  8. Yep, and Mission will continue to be #1 ELLIS ACT in downtown grid due to numerous buildings
    – with no rent control (age and design)
    – few units (low rise)
    – interim controls (prolonged planning cycle for new development)
    – moratorium (which may pass November ballot)

    1. Mission will continue to lead because of all the Mexican-American landlords cashing out, and because of all the units and houses carved up illegally, holding far more people than is legal. There’s really no other option for a new landlord than Ellis in those situations.

  9. I would like to see the rents being paid in these units. I bet many were at about 15-25% of market rates.

  10. I know someone in a Nob Hill studio who moved there in 1980. Rent is just under $500, probably 20% of the market rate.

  11. Possibly a noob question: Why is condo conversion its own category on the table? I thought you had to do an OMI or Ellis eviction (or offer tenants a lifetime lease.)

    1. Under the rent control ordinance, you can evict a tenant when you sell a unit which has been converted to a condo. I assume that’s what this column refers to.

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