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Drawn by Jordan Cermimara

In the last several months we have seen increasing hate for techies and tech companies. Last summer, “F- your start up” was tagged on a building in the Mission District.

In November, about 150 people protested outside Twitter’s headquarters the day after the company’s stock market launched on the New York Stock Exchange. In December, protesters smashed the window of a Google bus with rocks. Just recently, two dozen protesters blocked a bus carrying tech workers for hours because shuttle operators were allowed to use Muni stops and only charge $1 per stop.

People are praying for the dot-com bubble to burst, bringing down startup tech companies and the iPhone-toting hipsters who started it. However, it’s not the Bay Area’s buses or tech companies that are the problem. It’s the landlords.

Many residents see the buses as a symbol of the current problems San Francisco is facing: the economic inequality is widening. Minimum wage is hardly enough to make a living in the city, while rent continues to skyrocket and gentrification forces people out of their homes.

The changes in San Francisco are apparent and it’s heartbreaking. It’s always sad to see a family kicked out of their home or a mom-and-pop shop forced to shut down to make way for a luxury condo or an overpriced fusion restaurant. The city is evolving and longtime residents are being left behind. It’s easy to see why many residents are angry.

However, this anger is misplaced. Where is the animosity for the real estate developers or the landlords? They are the enforcers of high rent and the ones who should be blamed — as is the Ellis Act. It is the reason landlords can mass evict tenants and sell a building for profit.

The Ellis Act is a state law enacted by California legislature in 1986 that allows landlords to evict tenants to go out of business and remove the units from the housing market. The law states that all tenants must be evicted simultaneously and cannot be re-rented for five years after evictions, according to the San Francisco Rent Board.

Fortunately, the Ellis Act contains amendments that protect tenants. Only in San Francisco, landlords are required to pay their evicted tenants a re-location fee of $5,153 per tenant or a maximum payment of $15, 460. Seniors and people with disabilities receive an additional fee on top of the initial fee. 

Supervisor David Campos introduced legislation Tuesday for a change in the Ellis Act that would require landlords to pay the difference for the housing of the tenants they evict for the cost of renting new similar housing for two years. This may not happen, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Ellis Act is still being abused by landlords and shows how changes are sorely needed.

Not all tech workers are young billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg. They are just trying to make use of their computer science degree and work for a living while the startup workers are praying for a tech God to buy their company so they don’t fail horribly, like the majority of them do. According to a Wall Street Journal report, three out of four startups are not successful.

Startup employees are just cogs in the machine. It’s like yelling at a Starbucks employee for charging $4 a latte when they have no control of what the company does. They, just like the techies, are trying to earn a paycheck to get by and pay their ridiculously high rent as well.

Working toward a solution is hard, but finding someone or something to demonize is much easier. Facebook or Google can dive into some damage control and pay more than $1 for every bus stop they use or the Board of Directors can actually implement change in the Ellis Act so landlords stop abusing the act.

San Francisco is in flux and experiencing some growing pains. The Google bus protests have caught the nation’s attention and many are waiting to see what happens next. The city’s problems cannot be cured overnight, but a start can be to focus on the real problems and shift hate to where it is deserved.

4 thoughts on “Hate the Ellis Act, not the techies”

  1. Why are private property owners expected to provide public housing in San Francisco? How about if rent controlled tenants are required to provide housing for 1 homeless person also ( to keep their rent controlled status ) since it seems all housing in San Francisco needs to be used for the public and just not private good.

  2. Argument why hasen’t the Board of Supervisors. Provide the essential need
    for housing. Didn’t say housing projects no BMR. Difference not housing voucher which. Provide on federal level this pretentious. Attitude of middle class now caught. Ellis act evictions if BMR housing were. Available mere 30% built could save. Residence housing excellent tax write off. For developers funded by private REITS. Whom, financial supporters yes techies. Renowned corporations was impedance yeah. Those of institution with no housing. Solutions or conclusions? Establish old guard commercial industries. Realtors,developers,insurance titans and bankers. Continue to lobby on daily effort. To deter housing growth or rental. Policies benefits citizens why? Paper cutter class whom aloof in reality. Yes, we see yes ourselves! No why many people in Bay Area. Optimistic and pretentious only seeing geographically. Not vague so true certain. Animosity young residence making suppose salaries! Plenty companies downsizing losing benefits. Certain few making glory don’t envy. Them why laws pass support. Bay Area residence first for employment housing. Techie is stereotype usually young. Male whom very self effacing. No doubt immature of social imbalance. Refuse to concede or do they! Arbitration
    living among status yes only. Concern becoming wealthy not contributing.
    To needs of Bay Area ordeal. Many start up founders citizens. Bay Area connected financially this distorted. Perception if I attend graduate school.
    I’ll become wealth live high rentals. Displace those formerly you are. Guilty
    not exclusive the cause. Aspiring desire of greedy landlords. Many properties had maintenance citations! Still taken off market for condo”s. There protected by interest groups. Board of Supervisors has prolong this.
    Build new housing renters rights! Readers laugh when here statistics. Are
    fault renters should bought. Housing we abuse rent control what ever!

  3. Secondary term, of Ed Lee plea, to retain (renters rights_ making so many agitators uptight no delight in sight. Fight causing animosity from renters opposition stated no inflated ratio of residents able to pay. Increase rentals notice agreements lately, San Francisco prior implosion moderate no longer avid rental on Polk St yes sq footage 480 between $3,800 to 5,200 mostly non opulent apartments. Industries there is agitation not because of careers: preference of “Board of Supervisors exclusive logistics it’s contradiction Muni could have benefitted from. Special routes along “Cal Trains” essences expecting treatment tax abatements special commuter hours bus lanes causing strain an pain of residents. Ed your ordering new “city buses going grid lock inept public policies is there resolution? 2016 get the Ellis Act on ballots and no more exclusive logistics regarding favoritism what next special planes for SFO” never stop! Critics appease with economic stability of San Francisco inaccurate wage of non- rofessional jobs need to be increase obstacle burden taxes to smaller business. Whom, support mayhem of Ed Lee, then his successor whom be Scott,David Chui or London Breed renters shall be freed of “evictions” how many. Anticipated due, Ellis Act lottery 2,8000 why say oppose Technology companies there only 40% leasing downtown “NAIOP” attracted larger REITS,LLC and Realty Trust with cash whom getting approved. How many office non residential buildings for downtown no frowns of approval 140 or 210 between 2016-2026 but where there permitted. Privy of cartels influence San Francisco industries prominence cartels,international advertising firms, chemical companies,telecommunications,petroleum and natural gas corporations,international law firms and logistic firms. Increase the demand of availability of rentals, specialization of residential communities notice ratio of foreign employees: international corporations eager to build. Class A office buildings San Francisco, fight is among us SFAA,NAIOP,SF/Rex and BOMA S.F they leased City Hall Ed Lee tenant willing approve there demands. How many TIC, units schedule 2016 majority LGBTQ facing
    highest evictions 2,8000

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