Anti-Eviction Mapping Project

How a California state law has helped convert many rental properties into condos.

The Ellis Act is a state law in California that allows property owners to get out of the business of being landlords. Citing the law, they can evict tenants – including those who've never missed a rent check – to change the use of a building without selling it to a new owner. Frequently, the law is used to convert rental properties to condos. And, tenant advocacy groups claim, it's wielded to undermine rent-control restrictions in cities like San Francisco that are rapidly becoming unaffordable to precisely the people rent control is designed to protect.

In San Francisco, "Ellis evictions" have been on the rise, prompting protests particularly in neighborhoods like Nob Hill, the Castro and the Mission. The law has been on the books since 1985. But use of it has grown more common as a second tech boom in the Bay Area has pushed up the cost of living and the demand for luxury housing.

To illustrate the cumulative effect of all these evictions – in addition to impacting individual families, they also remove affordable rental housing from the market – the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project produced the below time-lapse animation. It spans Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco between 1997 and September of this year. The size of the bubbles corresponds with the number of units displaced with each eviction.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: subway in NYC
    Transportation

    Inside Bloomberg's $1 Trillion Infrastructure Plan

    Drawing on his time as New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg proposes handing power and money to urban leaders as part of his Democratic presidential bid.

  2. Transportation

    In Paris, a Very Progressive Agenda Is Going Mainstream

    Boosted by big sustainability wins, Mayor Anne Hidalgo is pitching bold plans to make the city center “100 percent bicycle” and turn office space into housing.

  3. A photo of a police officer in El Paso, Texas.
    Equity

    What New Research Says About Race and Police Shootings

    Two new studies have revived the long-running debate over how police respond to white criminal suspects versus African Americans.

  4. Environment

    Neighborhoods With a History of Redlining Are Hotter on Average

    Housing discrimination during the 1930s helps explain why poorer neighborhoods experience more extreme heat.

  5. photo: a couple tries out a mattress in a store.
    Equity

    What’s the Future of the ‘Sleep Economy’?

    As bed-in-a-box startup Casper files for an IPO, the buzzy mattress seller is betting that the next big thing in sleep is brick-and-mortar retail outlets.

×