To combat wrongful evictions, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is now pledging to sign a new ordinance that will institute tighter restrictions and safeguards aimed at making it harder for landlords to get away with fraud while also making it easier for the District Attorney’s Office to prosecute dishonest homeowners.
“Mayor Lee began his career fighting for tenant rights and looks forward to signing legislation that creates stronger protections for tenants in San Francisco,” Ellen Canale, spokesperson for the mayor, said in a statement.
San Francisco’s uniquely high rent prices – upwards of $3,000 for a one-bedroom unit – offer a clear but illegal financial opportunity for deceitful landlords. A recent NBC Bay Area investigation exposed how rent-controlled tenants are being wrongfully evicted by landlords who claim they intend to move into the home, only to eventually bring in new tenants at a much higher rent. By law, landlords or their relatives must intend to live in their home for at least three years following an owner move-in eviction. Enforcement, however, has been nearly nonexistent, as revealed in a series of NBC Bay Investigative Unit reports.
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the new law on Tuesday and has consistently credited the ongoing NBC Bay Area investigation for exposing the serious need for reform.
The mayor is expected to sign the ordinance by next week. The new reforms will then take effect sometime next month.
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Watch the entire series in this NBC Bay Area investigation:
• Part 13: Oakland Housing Director Defends Department
• Part 14: Oakland Housing Chief "Fired," Says Source