Real Stories

The Ellis Act: Owners’ Perspectives

In the following stories, property owners explain why they used the Ellis Act to leave the rental housing business:

Jerry Jacoby, Russian Hill, San Francisco

Jerry Jacoby, a fourth-generation San Franciscan, valued his relationship with his tenant, even going eight years without raising the rent -- and twice reducing it. At nearly 80, though, age has caught up with Jerry. He’s undergone two hip replacements, multiple minor surgeries, and infections requiring hospitalization. With the related financial burdens, Jerry could no longer afford to rent to his tenant. Further, realizing he could face a medical emergency, he reluctantly concluded that his daughter needed to live in an adjacent cottage on his property. His only legal resource to quit renting out the unit? The Ellis Act.
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Mellie Malcolmson, Russian Hill, San Francisco

In 1965, Mellie Malcolmson and her husband bought a small, four-unit property in Russian Hill. They raised their son, James, in the building, and collected rent from the other apartments to pay their mortgage. Now a widow, Mellie can no longer climb the stairs to her third-floor apartment. When the first-floor tenant repeatedly refused to switch units with her, Mellie turned to the Ellis Act to free up the rental. She and her son can still call Filbert Street home, and Mellie has maintained her mobility.
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A Project of the California Apartment Association and the San Francisco Apartment Association