Should a buyer purchase a property that’s been “Ellis Acted”?

Ellis Act is a state law that allows a landlord evict everyone in a building to convert that building to condos or TICs. For 5 years post Ellis eviction, no unit in that building can be rented to anyone for more than the evicted tenants paid + any rent control increases. For 10 years post eviction, the evicted tenants have first dibs on the unit from which they were evicted. So, an Ellis eviction limits what you can do with a property as a rental for a long time.

Also, there’s some local history with the law. During the tech boom years, there were a lot of stories circulating about landlords “Ellising” people, mostly low income people with poor English skills that didn’t know their rights, and then turning around and renting properties for market rates. SF is a very political town, and a lot of potential buyers might view Ellised buildings as tainted.

Last thing important to know from the landlord’s perspective, if the landlord “Ellis” a protected tenant, the building will never be allowed under current SF law to convert to condo – your agent should always determine how a building was vacated and that the method is well documented for the future.

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