San Francisco Evictions Continue to Rise


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For the sixth year in a row, the number of evictions has risen in San Francisco.

According to the report released this month by the San Francisco Rent Board, 2,134 evictions were recorded between March 2015 and February 2016, up slightly from the 2,120 recorded the previous year.

The Rent Board’s numbers show that evictions in San Francisco have risen every year since 2010, when evictions reached a low point, highlighting a housing crisis in what is often considered the most expensive city in the United States for tenants.

For the average San Franciscan, the cost of renting a one-bedroom apartment is around $3,096 a month, far above the average rent in cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago.

Skyrocketing rent is hardly the only factor in the growing number of evictions. A number of evictions have come under the Ellis Act, a California state law that enables landlords to evict every tenant in order to go out of business and cease renting altogether.

The recent rise in the number of evictions under the Ellis Act has come under fire from tenants and tenant’s rights organizations. On March 9, the residents of an 84 unit building located on Market Street gathered outside their home to protest their upcoming eviction under the Ellis Act.

“We are looking at the heart of San Francisco, and the heart of San Francisco is being pushed out. They have no place to go,” says Tommi Avicolli, who is the counseling programs director for San Francisco tenant’s rights group Human Rights Committee.

Many city leaders have sought new measures to fight the growing number of evictions, to no avail. Attempts to reform the Ellis Act have proven fruitless. A 2014 referendum which presented a law that would make it illegal for a landlord to sell a tenant building within five years after purchasing it was defeated. Real estate interests group spent $1.8 million urging voters to turn it down.

The annual eviction count is still below the peak number of 2,878 evictions in the 1998 – 1999 year, at the height of the dot.com boom. The last six years, however, mark the first steady increase in evictions since that record year.

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