New Bummer Stencil Project Reminds Us Tenants Are Being Evicted Everywhere

With Ellis Act evictions up 170% over the past three years and rental prices surpassing NYC stupidity, people concerned with keeping people lacking Fuck You Money in the city are looking for new ways to show how big of a problem this is.

There's the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, which maps and animates every eviction in the city since 1997—a helpful resource, for sure, but in a culture that looks at maps and graphics daily, it doesn't have much punch.  Enter the “Tenants Here Forced Out” stencil.  It's been showing up all over the Mission, from seemingly every block of Capp to being generously splashed along 22nd, marking every building where landlords Ellised out their tenants.

Here's how the group behind the map and stencils describes the situation:

The Ellis Act is a key mechanism for undermining San Francisco’s rent control laws. The state law gives landlords the right to evict all tenants, even if they have always been good tenants and paid their rent on time. The use of the Ellis act is a legal deception where owners pretend to go out of business. In actuality they aim to create new expensive housing options in the form of group-owned tenancy-in-common flats or condos. Condos are forever exempted from rent protections even if subsequently rented out.

Once you start noticing the stencils, it makes your walk around the neighborhood particularly grim.  Fortunately, steps are being taken within City Hall to mitigate the eviction crisis.  Just yesterday, Supervisor Campos had the City Attorney begin drafting legislation that will double the relocation assistance landlords are required to pay evicted tenants, and he promises more future legislation.

Comments (52)

Why would anyone want to be a landlord in a city where people expect lifetime leases?

Because they still make tons of money relative to other cities.


Not if the tenants are paying significantly below market rents. That’s the primary reason landlords “go out of the business” and convert to owner occupancy, i.e., TIC/condos.

Because they can make a shit ton of cash with very little effort?

I keep forgetting the city needs to run all commercial opportunities through you. Real estate is volatile and extremely risky. Its even worse when dipshits like you think they can regulate it.

Oh? If you have information about landlords who got screwed by shady loans, please post it. Otherwise, time to stop pretending you know what you’re talking about.

How about shady tenants? Umm, yeah.

Nobel prize winning economist attribute the depression that started in 2008 was from repealing the regulations that were enacted after the 1930’s Depression separating banking from investment banking and the effects played out through the sub-prime loan crisis.. Loans on real estate.

Directly caused by the the non regulations of derivatives from collateralized mortgages on real estate, , unemployment went over 10 percent, trillions of Dollars of output has been lost, and will never be restored.. The government has had to backstop over 20 Trillion dollars of assets. Since 2008 the too big to fail institutions have just grown bigger, the need to regulate real estate has increased. .

The same data noting Ellis Act evictions are up 170% over the last 3 years can also be used to say Ellis Act evictions over the last 3 years are at their lowest level in over a decade. Both are facts, it just depends on how a report or group wants to use the information.

What’s more splashy:

- Las Vegas home prices up 60% in 2 years
- Las Vegas home prices still 50% under 2006 peak

You fucking ad impression whore. Get your facts straight.

This comment sums up this sensationalist bullshit: “Of the 93.25% of evictions that were not based on the Ellis Act, how many were for simple breach of the tenant’s rental agreement for non-payment of rent?”

You realize there are no ads on this site, right?

Also, your quote wasn’t a “fact,” but biased conjecture.

“eyeball whore”

“landlord scum”

ad hominems are fun!

Why do people think you get the same level of control of real estate being a renter and an owner? If you own real estate, you should be able to do with it what you want. If a landlord decides they no longer want to rent their place, they shouldn’t be forced to. Being a landlord is a business. If the landlord wants to change the focus of their business, who are we to stop them?


A renter who doesn’t think his landlord owes him anything

Its getting harder to tell the trolls. The Internets are improving with version 2.1

Happily, we live in a society not governed by your amoral standards.

Yes. In our society, a landlord who doesn’t want to rent their property can be forced to do so. It is their moral duty.

We should be so lucky. I’m all for high taxes on properties left vacant.

Only a small difference to same, same thing with waitresses. If one hires a waitress, one should be able to do with it what you want.

In your example, isn’t the waitress the landloard? In both cases being paid for providing a service? A restaurant owner pays a waitress for providing a service (taking people’s orders, delivering food). A tenant also pays a landlord for a service (providing a place to live or run a business).

In what I assume was a sarcastic response, actually proves the original point you commented on. When you hire a worker (waitress) you can’t just do whatever you want to that person. When you rent an apartment you can’t expect to do whatever you want with the apt either. If you want full control as a restaurant owner, wait your own tables. If you want full control of your real estate, buy it.

The rent’s too damn high!

The Free Lunch crowd hates seeing its Free Lunch disappear.

Pretty sure we’re talking about paying customers who are being evicted here.

Did you get upset when McD’s got rid of their dollar menu? I AM A PAYING CUSTOMER AND SHOULD ALWAYS PAY 99 CENTS FOR MY HAMBURGER.

If you don’t like capitalism, move out.

McDonald’s has to deal with food costs. Landlords do not.

You’re a bigger moron than I thought.

Thanks for that insightful, elaborate comment. I don’t know that the enlightening discussions at UA would be possible without you.

Are you fucking serious?

Eric: Yup, well said.

Or, y’know, do your best to fix what’s broken about capitalism. Which is exactly what people are trying to do.

Don’t like living someplace where people try to fix what’s broken? Move out.

Coming home the other night I noticed a new piece of graffiti outside my building. At first I was kind of stoked because it was one of those cool stencils that have been popping up on the sidewalks around the city. Then I read it. It was the “Tenants Here Forced Out” on a roller bag stencil depicted above. I have to say that I am pretty upset with this sort of “direct action” in support of a movement.

Was the Ellis Act used to remove tenants in the building I currently live in? Yes. This happened in 2006. So now I am punished/shamed for the actions of someone else 7 years ago? That hardly seems productive.

I am curious to see what readers think about this in general. I agree that the Ellis act is being used for landlords to “go out of business” and profit off their properties/investments. I also agree that, unfortunately, people are being displaced (with compensation) because of these actions. I do not agree with vandalism/public shaming being used as a form of violence against those who move into the neighborhood (like me, my wife, and our building full of young families in 2008) and are consciously trying to be sensitive to our community.

Also, anyone who thinks encouraging people to not sell their buildings or to not buy from property owners who have Ellis’d their properties will somehow be a solution and freeze the neighborhood (warts and all) into some warped “ideal” state is being naive.

It is a dilemma, for sure. Are we all supposed to just stay put where we are? Can I not move into a neighborhood that I want to move to? Despite what it may sound like, I am not arguing that my building’s Ellis was somehow different, I am honestly just trying to sort this all out.


PS - Anyone know a good way to get graffiti off a sidewalk?

I cannot speak for the artists/activists themselves, but I interpreted it as an awareness campaign about the eviction problem, not shaming of current occupants (especially given that it’s a ridiculous notion to say buildings should remain empty because a previous owner Ellised it).

If you don’t think shaming is part of their plan, you’re mistaken. Thanks to sensationalist articles like these you continue to feed their machine. This will escalate. So thanks.

” I do not agree with vandalism/public shaming being used as a form of violence “. Look you’re going to move to the suburbs in about five years anyway, so why not just skip the part where you ruin the city I live in, and get to stepping? Graffiti is a form of violence. Get the fuck outta here.

Look, if we don’t distort the meaning to include obviously non-violent acts, then people like this chump are going to be left with no choice but to occasionally experience discomfort. That’s just not acceptable in today’s “every snowflake is a special winner!” America.

I need a police man! Someone has made me uncomfortable!
That’s a form of violence, man!!!!!

Uh, grafitti may not be “violence” per se, but it is still physical damage of someone else’s property. That’s a violent act.

That gets at the heart of this issue though. Some people dont believe in other’s rights to own property. If you dont believe that landlords should own their property, it’s a lot easier to deface it, and also to believe you deserve to live there indefinitely.

Don’t really want to dive into this hornets’ nest, but stenciling a sidewalk that gets stomped and shit on is hardly as destructive as defacing the building itself. (Nor does this statement make me a communist that doesn’t believe in personal property, as the techno-libertarians would like to cast everyone who supports rent stabilization).

I agree with you. Stenciling the sidewalk is different than defacing the building. But what other purpose could there be other than to “mark” the building so others know it is ok to deface it, etc…? Most of what I am saying has to do with blaming the wrong people for the situation. The misplaced anger is very troubling.

Stenciling the sidewalk might be a different degree of vandalism, but it is still defacing property that belongs to someone else. The sidewalk in front of a building is owned and maintained by the property owner. Removing spraypaint from concrete is difficult, and actually more of a burden than on the side of a building, since you can’t just paint over it.
Any way you look at it, it’s marking someone else’s property in a way they probably did not want, and putting the onus on someone else to clean up your mess. It’s an immature and unconstructive way to make a political point.

It could be vandalism, but it shit for brains to call it violence.

Yup, well said.

Was your comment written from the suburbs? So much anger. All I am saying is that vandalism and shaming does not get a point across or make any allies. Not everyone who has lived in the city for less time than you (if that is even true) is a bad person seeking to “ruin” anything…whatever that is supposed to mean.

“one of those cool stencils that have been popping up on the sidewalks around the city.”

popping up for years and years and years you mean?

Right on. We need more of this.

“But if you murder all the rich people, who will remind you how exciting capitalism is?”

This is what democracy looks like.

I am not sue why people are exchanging such nasty comments with total strangers. It seems like many people on both sides of the issue are sublimating their sexual frustration and could really stand to get laid.

As for the stenciling on the sidewalk, I think it’s silly and ineffective, but fairly harmless. Stencils can easily be rubbed off even if sprayed on. I am also not sure how it “shames” anyone? Shame only works if one chooses to be shamed, if you don’t care what a particular person or group of people think of you, it is impossible to be shamed.

If making stencils makes some people feel good about voicing their opinion on an issue, fine. If some others disagree with that opinion, simply ignore it and move on.

Hear, fucking hear.

The kid that makes those stencils made them for an art school project where I picked the word RENT out of a top hat of words to base their project on.