In general, San Francisco’s Residential Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance prevents a landlord from exercising an owner move-in (OMI) eviction during the school year if the eviction would displace a tenant with a resident child under 18 years of age.

Under a proposed ordinance which is working its way through San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors, the aforementioned protection would be extended to cover all Ellis Act, condo conversion, capital improvement and rehabilitation based evictions as well, and it would eliminate the exception that currently allows an OMI eviction of a family with a child during the school year if the landlord only owns a single unit in the building or has school-age children of his or her own.

In addition, the ordinance would extend eviction protections during the school year to tenants who are “educators,” defined as a person who works at a school in San Francisco as an employee or independent contractor of the school or its governing body, in any role, as well.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by matteo

    This sounds like bad news for educators and parents with children under 18 looking to rent in SF.

    • Posted by anon2

      It’s already illegal to discriminate against family status when choosing tenants, but this is very difficult to determine, prove, or enforce.

      • Posted by condoshopper

        how does a landlord know a tenant’s family status? is it required to disclose it if asked?

        • Posted by hgh

          Most applications require info about who would be residing there. A basic background check for credit is done.

          What your asking works both ways though…how would a landlord know if there’s a child who has moved in with a parent at some point, due to joint custody or guardianship? It opens up disputes even if the Landlord is trying to do the right thing. If a tenant all of a sudden says “you can’t evict me, I got a kid you didn’t know was here”, then a landlord might contest that the kid wasn’t always living there. I don’t know how it works now if a Senior moves in with their family for care…that Senior would be protected, but the landlord didn’t rent to a Senior.

  2. Posted by James

    Another reason why owners should only rent to single tech workers likely to move in a few years.

  3. Posted by SF_Landlord

    Good to know educators and families with kids should be on most landlords blacklists now.

  4. Posted by djoelt1

    I really don’t understand why so many people in power assume that if you change one law, no humans will attempt to adapt to preserve what’s important to them.

  5. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    What we actually need is a law to ban supervisor from introducing law crafted for a specific class of people. This will curb the temptation for the supervisors to create byzantine of bad laws tailor made for a specific segment.

    • Posted by Just My Opinion

      Could not agree more and perhaps it would keep them focused on important work.

    • Posted by Savvy


  6. Posted by Dixon Hill

    Did anybody read the OP? It specifies “during the school year.” That leaves 3 months of the year during which this class of (partially) protected tenants can be removed. If a building owner wants to do an owner move-in, they will need to pay attention to the calendar. That’s all this says.

    I’m surprised that there might be any real objection to the value of not disrupting the lives of students and teachers during the school year. That this needs to be a law saddens me.

    • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

      The same apply to everyone else. Nobody want to get disrupted. But that’s life. It is far worse to have politicians to draft 1,000 laws dictating every detail of our schedule and how to live our life.

    • Posted by Gary

      “But what about the children!?”

      Such nonsense. There’s nothing more adaptable that a child.

      When I was a kid I was in 5 different schools over the course of one school year while my father trained to fly FB-111’s. Guess that should have been outlawed.

    • Posted by Just My Opinion

      Except the fact that the owner OWNS the asset. I am not saying it is not nice to do this, but it should not be illegal.

    • Posted by nortonsempire

      There is no “real” objection from most San Franciscans. This site is just full of deranged libertarians who are likely opposed to all forms of housing discrimination law.

      • Posted by Ohlone Californio

        First of all, how would you possibly know whether or not most San Franciscans agree with this or not? Then your second sentence is kind of wild. What’s your point?

        • Posted by nortonsempire

          Because San Franciscans continue to elect people who pass pro-tenant legislation, such as the referenced one in this post.

      • Posted by San Fronzischeme

        Say you lived in SF, had to move out of state for a few years and managed to get back to SF. You want to be able to get back to your place! This is what OMIs are for, not the simplified vision of 2 opposite sides. Property should buy you security. Tenancy should buy you shelter and flexibility. Yet in this case the owner loses this security.

    • Posted by anon

      This isn’t a great idea, but it’s mostly a non-issue.
      The real distortions caused by Prop 13/Rent Control occur with long ownership/tenancy. 9 months isn’t changing things much.

  7. Posted by derrysf

    How exactly can an SF ordinance preempt legal use of the Ellis Act, a State law?

    • Posted by hgh

      The same way all of SF’s ordinances that contradict State law do it. Nobody has challenged the city on it.

  8. Posted by anon$random

    what if the buyer is a teacher/school employee, or has kids that are of school age that need to move to this location in order to benefit their own education?

  9. Posted by Just My Opinion

    More illegal taking of property owner’s rights. Teacher’s deserve to make more money because the job they do is important. They would then have more choices in housing. Owners should have the right to sell their property when they want, and to occupy their own property when they want provided they don’t violate an existing lease.

    Further the BOS should not be knee-jerking to every pandering, lame-brained idea and stay focused on what is most important to their constituency – homelessness, safety, infrastructure, public transit, etc.

    This is a bunch of crap, and will not stand up to legal scrutiny. It is a complete waste of time, effort and resources.

  10. Posted by AnonAnon

    That is one hell of a broad definition of “educator.”

  11. Posted by soccermom

    What about firemen? Policemen? Sewer department workers? Recology employees? What about MUNI drivers? What about people who work in businesses serving the elderly and disabled? Home health care workers? What about people with a surgery scheduled within 6 months?

    • Posted by Elitist Pig

      One special group at a time… wait until next year.

    • Posted by SFrentier

      Jewish renters should be exempt from evictions on sabbath and high holidays too.

  12. Posted by moto mayhem

    this looks like discrimination against people without kids, or who are not educators.

    • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

      It is – clearly. But that specific discrimination is probably not unlawful.

      Not all discrimination is against the law. Now that doesn’t mean this is not a dumb policy.

    • Posted by Pablito

      Yep. But in San Francisco we have decided it is okay to discriminate against people who are not somehow ” popular”.

  13. Posted by nortonsempire

    Cool! So we can end the Prop 13 subsidy and use that money to pay teachers more?

    • Posted by SF_Landlord

      Sure. As soon as rent control gets repealed.

    • Posted by parklife

      It’s always interesting how those who argue for increased tenant protections and/or more rent control rules automatically assume that those opposed are staunch opponents of Prop 13. There are many here, as elsewhere, who are opposed to both distortions of the housing market.

      • Posted by Jake

        and the mortgage interest deduction, of course. That’s the really big one. The really expensive one, with the greatest impact on residential property values.

        • Posted by anon

          Yup, the huge elephant in the room

          • Posted by parklife

            Very true. The mortgage interest deduction along with the capital gains windfall have helped push real estate values beyond their natural level.

        • Posted by SFrentier

          It’s good to have both. When mortgage interest deductions run out (presumably in 30 years) you have the prop 13 low tax base to keep you going. CA property owners have gotta survive somehow.

        • Posted by jenofla

          Does the mortgage interest deduction really apply? Because in order to afford SF homes these days, you need to have an income that pushes you into AMT (alternative minimum tax) territory, where your mortgage interest deduction doesn’t help out at all.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            agree, it is a minor help with AMT

          • Posted by JR "Bob" Dobbs

            Mortgage interest is still deductible even if you fall under the AMT. HELOCs and interest for second homes could be affected.

    • Posted by hgh

      No, they’ll just bring in more money to appropriate away from teachers salaries like always.

      Without Prop 13, every time someone gets reassessed after some tech zillionaire overpays on your block, grandma and grandpa would get his with a tax increase.

  14. Posted by Hola

    I smell a lawsuit coming.

  15. Posted by Savvy

    Pay teachers more. Why burden building owner.

    • Posted by Serge

      SF and many renters are under some kind of delusional impression that building owners operate charities and should provide discounted (and free) rent.

  16. Posted by Skeeter

    What if the child tenant attends school year round?

    What if the child is home schooled?

    Given the broad definition of “educator” will all employees of the Academy of Art be protected by this law?
    Are part time school employees covered?

  17. Posted by hgh

    Part of the problem is the school districting, and lotteries to get kids into schools, has been screwed up causing anxiety for families. They deserve some protections.

    But the end results is that no landlord will want to rent to teachers and students, because if you get one that’s bad news, or you have a legit reason you need to Ellis, you are stuck with them.

    • Posted by Dixon Hill

      A landlord would not be “stuck” with the tenant…the protection is only for the duration of the school year. It’s really not that big of a deal.

      • Posted by hgh

        They’re still stuck from September to June, and in some situations that could become a hardship for an owner. If we’re talking the rare problem kid who is a nuisance, like for example, harassing other tenants, then they are indeed stuck.

        But I think these protections already existed…what this new revision does is take away exemptions for landlords that have their own children, and extends it to teachers. I’ve never heard of a teacher missing school because of an eviction, but if they live within district of their school, I get how this is a good safeguard…. I don’t think it’s that common for teachers to live in district anymore.

        • Posted by Chris

          You are reading the proposal too broadly. There is nothing that prevents an eviction for cause. So, if the tenant fails to pay their rent, or if the child is genuinely a nuisance such that the tenant would be in violation of his lease, then the owner may still evict the tenants.

          What the owner may not do is effect a no-fault eviction during the school year. Now, you may think that is an unreasonable delay for Ellis Act or OMI evictions, but it does not force a landlord to put-up with a tenant who is in default of their lease.

  18. Posted by Futurist

    Gay renters should be exempt from evictions during Pride Week, Folsom Fair, and Halloween.

    • Posted by Amewsed

      Pink Saturdays are out due to lack of corporate sponsorship. There is still the Dyke march.

  19. Posted by dc_in_sf

    Just curious, what happens if the owner attempts an eviction during the unprotected time period, the tenant fights it, and now it is back into the protected period? Do they get a free pass until the next unprotected period or does the fact the proceedings were started during an unprotected period take precedence?

    • Posted by soccermom

      Probably the date on which the tenancy termination notice is served is the relevant reference point.

      The process to regain possession of a unit will in all likelihood take at least a year after the landlord serves notice. (Everyone is suddenly disabled once an eviction notice is served….) So under almost any circumstance the tenant will ‘roll back’ into the school year period, and then ride out the balance of the year, or:

      Purchase September 2017
      Serve notice June 2018 – tenant claims disability, gets a full year of continued tenancy
      Actually recover possession of the house you own +/- June 2019 (unless the tenant fights an Unlawful Detainer suit, which could easily tack on 3 months, even if the landlord prevails).

      So, if you as a homeowner intend to buy a house occupied by renters and take possession of it, plan to keep renting your own place for two years while you also pay a mortgage, until you can move in.

      Another blessing for real estate professionals, another obstacle for people who want to own homes, and another appeasement for local voters. Another reason not to rent your vacant unit out. Another reason to (never-say-it-out-loud) discriminate against renting to families with children. Or young couples who might get pregnant. Or teachers. Or, god forbid, a teacher who might get pregnant.

      • Posted by soccermom

        Oh, and landlord-tenant attorneys. Total growth industry.

        • Posted by SFrentier

          Personally I nix all attorneys. Just a bad mindset to have to deal with for rentals in this city. No offense.

          • Posted by soccermom

            If you like, but your taxes are paying for the Tenderloin Housing Clinic legal team regardless.

  20. Posted by Amewsed

    I am curious how these stupid laws will affect this November’s election. There are just enough angry people even in SF who can see these progressive “solutions” are more hurtful, than helpful to their cause to protect tenants.

    The net effect of not renting to anyone of child-bearing age (potential and current parents) is you get the 50+ year old crowd who comes with their own issues.

    • Posted by P.K.

      Rent to nerdy, single tech males who are unlikely to get a date, let alone procreate.

      • Posted by Amewsed

        Those are the best kinds.

      • Posted by Dixon Hill

        Those nerdy dateless tech males will probably remain your tenants for years!

  21. Posted by I'm truly sick of the rich!

    You clearly have no idea how much teacher’s in SFUSD actually make. None of them can actually afford to rent a place here, so once they are evicted, that’s it. They are gone for good, unless they move into a place that’s rent controlled and occupied with other tenants already. Tech workers can move here whenever, but your contributions to society are overpaid and overvalued, only because some teacher taught you the basic skills to get where you are today. You thankless prick!

    • Posted by soccermom

      You’ve just put forth a great argument for why we should not expect a few private landlords to subsidize the public education system through regulated low rents. These costs should be borne by everyone who benefits from having a strong public school system in the city.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      I know a number of people who make <$50K and can afford to live in the city with roommates. What makes teachers different?

  22. Posted by Hitman

    Protected tenants get special eviction protection too…. when is the last time a 55+ year old or a capper got a rent controlled apartment in SF?

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