Nearly 7K households have been evicted under Ellis Act in 4 years: report

But experts say that only paints a small piece of the picture

(Credit: Getty Images)
(Credit: Getty Images)

As California residents gather at the polls to vote on the fate of Proposition 10 — a ballot item that could impact rent control across the state — a new report shines a light on a 1985 statute tied directly to it.

Since January 2014, there have been 6,942 evictions of rent-controlled households under the Ellis Act, the Los Feliz Ledger reported. Nearly 700 of those were in Los Angeles City Council Districts 4 and 13, according to city data.

The findings may only represent a small fraction of the total number of families pushed out, given that most landlords don’t officially declare their evictions.

Established in 1985, the Ellis Act allows landlords to essentially evict tenants if they plan on removing their units from the rental market. Landlords are required to provide tenants with a minimum of 120 days’ notice and a resettlement fee.

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Landlords have been bypassing the process by offering “cash for keys,” in which tenants voluntarily leave in exchange for money, or by changing the scope of a project after evicting tenants.

City officials have been proposing new legislation meant to punish developers who mislead the city or tenants. In 2017, two City Council members drafted a state assembly bill that would require landlords to give every tenant a one-year notice prior to eviction.

Opponents of Prop 10, which would allow local governments to impose rent control as they see fit, say that the proposal would negatively impact the supply of rental units as landlords push for condo conversions, in a similar way to the Ellis Act. [LFL] — Natalie Hoberman