Recently, San Francisco leaders changed the Ellis relocation payments law: speculators who buy a building to “go out of the rental business” will have to pay tenants the difference between their current rent and the market rent – times 24! Naturally, landlords have filed a lawsuit.
Now, SF activists are fighting the Ellis crisis with a ballot measure they call an “Anti-Speculation Tax.” The tax was first proposed by activist Supervisor Harvey Milk around the time that San Francisco got rent control – over 30 years ago! Today, SF’s Prop G is sponsored by four members of the Board of Supervisors and would impose a tax on buildings sold in the first five years after purchase, but exempt owner-occupied homes.
“Prop G would tax the entire value of the building, beginning at 24 percent if sold within one year of purchase. The rate would be less after each successive year, falling to 14 percent if sold five years out. It would not apply to owner-occupied buildings, so as long as the buyer moved into the property they could sell it within five years and not face the tax.”
“…Additional Transfer Tax on Residential Property Sold Within 5 Years of Purchase seeks to discourage real estate speculators from buying up properties with the aim of flipping them, a process that tends to involve bringing down the hammer of the Ellis Act to evict long-term tenants.”
“The anti-speculation tax — which would be 24 percent of the sale price if resold within the first year of purchase and drop to 14 percent if resold within five years — was the among the final pieces of legislation that Supervisor Harvey Milk pushed before he was assassinated in 1978.”
“The law, which went into effect June 1, requires landlords to give tenants in Ellis Act evictions a relocation assistance payment equal to two years’ worth of the difference between the tenant’s current rent and the cost of comparable housing in the city.”