State Sen. Mark Leno, with Mayor Ed Lee and Assemblymember Phil Ting

By Tim Redmond

FEB 24, 2014 — A broad coalition that includes tenant activists as well as tech leaders is supporting State Sen. Mark Leno’s bill to reform the Ellis Act, but it’s not clear how many will also back an Ellis measure by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano.

At a press conference in Chinatown this morning, Leno and Mayor Ed Lee were joined by Supervisors David Campos, David Chiu, Scott Wiener, and Norman Yee, along with tech mogul Ron Conway. A representative of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff was also on hand.

The presence of the mayor and the tech industry is just the latest indication of how serious the eviction crisis has become – and how much of a force the tenant movement has become in local politics. When you get a crowd like this for an anti-eviction bill, it’s clear that 2014 is, indeed, the Year of the Tenant in San Francisco.

Leno made his point very clearly: The Ellis Act was never intended to help speculators who buy a property, evict everyone, and flip it. The law, he said, we designed for longtime landlords who want to get out of the business.

“The business of being a landlord is 100 percent occupancy. The business of being a speculator is 100 vacancy.”

He held up a copy of the Ellis Act and noted, “nowhere in this law is the word ‘speculator.'”

The bill would require that a landlord own a property for five years before doing an Ellis eviction, and would bar anyone who has Ellised one building to buy and clear out another one. (more after the jump)