Wow, local real estate blog Socketsite reports there's talk of an ordinance in San Francisco to define and punish the offense of failure to maintain foreclosed properties. Amazing to believe that vacant foreclosures are so much of an issue in a place with such a tight real estate market.
But while they're on the subject of decay at properties left empty for financial reasons, I'd like to suggest they expand the ordinance to include properties emptied of tenants under the destructive Ellis Act. That is, where the landlord has evicted the tenants wholesale from a property to start the Ellis Act's dreaded five-year waiting period. After five years empty, an "Ellised" building is out from under rent control requirements, so the landlord can legally move toward selling the units instead of renting them. (See Cal. Govt. Code 7060.2.)
All emptied houses start to die in small ways. With an Ellised property, just like with a foreclosure, trash builds up in front of doors that aren't being opened, and campers leave food wrappers and bits of clothing, and strangers smoke dope on the front steps. Just like with foreclosures. Seems like the same kind of problem, doesn't it?