Fight back to save your home

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By Tommi Avicolli Mecca and Fred Sherburn-Zimmer

OPINION The good news from San Francisco these days is that tenants are fighting back in a big way to save their homes. Speculators and investors intent on making a killing in a sizzling real estate market are not always having an easy time getting rid of those who stand between them and obscene profits.

While tenant resistance has become a hot ticket item in the local mainstream media, legislators are introducing a slew of new laws aimed at curbing speculation and the housing crisis. Even the Mayor's Office has gotten into the act, intervening in at least two recent high-profile evictions: the Lee family and 1049 Market.

A low-income elderly Chinese couple and their disabled daughter, the Lee family chose to stay and fight when the Sheriff's Department gave them notice that it was coming to lock them out after an Ellis Act eviction. Hundreds showed up in support, with a large number of people willing to block the door and risk arrest. TV went live from the protest. Within no time at all, the Mayor's Office stepped in to negotiate with the landlord for more time so that the Lees could find an affordable place to live. While the Lee family didn't ultimately get to stay, their struggle brought public attention to what is happening here in San Francisco.

When the tenants in the artist live/work lofts at 1049 Market received letters from their new landlord saying that the city was forcing him to evict them because of an outstanding code violation from 2007 that he inherited when he bought the building, they didn't take it lying down. It wasn't true that the city was making him evict anyone. He had the option to bring the building up to code, something he found "economically infeasible."

Tenants from 1049 Market contacted Housing Rights Committee where we work, and we helped them organize. We were afraid the landlord's other two buildings on the same block might meet the same fate. The story made the cover of the San Francisco Examiner about a week later.

Suddenly, the Department of Building Inspection announced that it had discretion in terms of the code violations, especially the costliest of them. DBI's deputy director sent the notice of violation back to its staff for review. The city began meeting with the landlord to try and prevent the tenants from being evicted.

Negotiations are still in progress, but the fact that the City has stepped in so aggressively on the side of the tenants is a major victory. Of course, it's due to tenants fighting back when so many people told them they couldn't win.

Jeremy Mykaels, a gay disabled man who's lived in the Castro for the past 40 years and in his current apartment for almost 18, decided not to move when new owners (investors from Atherton and Union City) threatened him with an Ellis eviction. They went through with it after he turned down a buyout.

Comments

where you demand that your class be given total victory for no reason other than that you happen to belong to that class.

The situation in SF is nuanced but balanced. We have a very strict form of rent control but, crucially, a property owner may exit the business via Ellis if the burden of subsidizing his tenants becomes onerous.

This strikes most reasonable people as fair and equitable. Rent control with a get-out clause. So why are you arguing that a tenant should have more right to exclusive access to and usage of a property than the person who took the risk to buy it, and who maintains it?

A bridge too far was a problem at Arnhem and it's the same problem that led to Ellis. Why not try negotiating and compromizing rather than allowing envy and anger to strip you of your humanity?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 4:43 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by blkjflji on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:06 pm

What do you hate the poor you think they should just be thrown out like garbage because you and your rich friends want to own everything. You have no love in you at all...... all you think about is yourself. What am I supposed to do live in the street because speculators want to make more money when they already have enough. Why dont you go live in the street maybe that will teach you about arrogance and greed.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

and usage of the home that he purchased. Tenants cannot reasonably expect lifetime tenancies when they sign a month-to-month agreement. If you want a lifetime lease, find a landlord who will give you one. Then you can never be Ellis'ed.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2013 @ 5:59 am

Hear-here!!

Posted by Granny Gear on Nov. 02, 2013 @ 9:36 am

My "Hear-here" comment was in reply to Thanks for Nothing", not below that Ellis was about allowing property owners to regain access to their home. See my own posting about this.

Posted by Granny Gear (Terrrie Frye) on Nov. 02, 2013 @ 9:43 am

They are standing up for what they believe and resisting the strong forces arrayed against tenants and others of modest means.

They are taking action while property rights apologists write the same comment about the Ellis Act multiple times daily across several local websites, a strange sort of classist OCD.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 4:59 pm

subsidize you to the tune of potentially tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime?

What makes you so special, and such an asset to the city, that another resident has to permanently give up their home to you at a massively discounted rent?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:10 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by blkjflj on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:11 pm

If racer is using his barrier this early, he knows his cause is lost.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:20 pm

If you are going to write the same stuff over and over, at least express yourself accurately.

The rest of it is just the same personal attack drivel.

Soon to be followed with references to Cuba, Aspen, Oakland, BART, knowledge workers (whatever the hell they are), etc., etc.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:27 pm

they are entitled to use all of them if they wish.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

when evictions are regulated, Mr. Rand.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:48 pm

evictions, since no cause is required for an Ellis, and no defense works if the notice is technically correct.

The underlying rationale is constitutional - the owner of a property must be given the right to reclaim a property that he has rented out, at the ned of any prevailing lease.

Renters cannot have ro expect a lifetime lease, whether at a market rent or a subsidized rent.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 6:29 am
Posted by anon on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

ITA!

Posted by Granny Gear on Nov. 02, 2013 @ 9:38 am

I remember when that shrill queen Tommi was ranting about bout horrible it was that a flat in the Castro was renting for $1,800 15 years ago. So 15 years later, see how much progress has resulted from his shrill ranting… The delusional never learn.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 11:09 am
Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 11:18 am

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive deceptions, reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by buifsi on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 11:50 am

The Lee eviction was a reminder to everyone that if a property owner doesn't want to be a landlord, the city government CANNOT force them to be one.

That's the lesson. Loud and clear.

Battle to develop a city-sponsored safety net for those in need to which ALL residents contribute.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2013 @ 10:34 am

subsidizing their rent (where that is needed) is borne by everyone, and not just a small number who will then eventually abandon the business.

And if everyone had to pay for these subsidies, you can bet they would be means tested.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2013 @ 10:42 am

The Ellis Act was sold as something quite reasonable - to enable elderly landlords who could no longer keep up with their rental properties to go out of the rental business.

It was NEVER meant to allow speculators to come in and buy a building and then Ellis everyone out to convert to TIC's and/or condos!!

The Ellis Act at the state level needs to be FIXED NOW!!!!!!!!!

Posted by Granny Gear (Terrrie Frye) on Nov. 02, 2013 @ 9:41 am

An 18 year old who inherits a rental building and doesn't want to be a landlord might reasonably invoke the Ellis Act.

The sole purpose of the Ellis Act is to restore some of the rights of a property owner where municipal rent control is taken too far.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 02, 2013 @ 10:02 am

This site is not putting my comments in the right places where I replied to others posts.

Posted by Granny Gear (Terrrie Frye) on Nov. 02, 2013 @ 9:45 am

“The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets or steal bread.” -Anatole France

Posted by High-minded sheep on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 1:30 am
Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 6:48 am

can't relate to the quotation because you are a callous dimwit, who claims superiority because of his money.

Your comments here prove indisputably that wealth and intelligence do no correlate.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 8:34 am

not. Holding out a cap is fine' harassing people as they go by is not.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 9:01 am

A sense of entitlement to 'safety'? What privilege! A luxury and piece of mind that is laughably missing to somebody living on the streets.

In all our decadence, people die.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 12:32 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

the abject vapidity of his repeated childishly uninformed comments on this blog suggested that he is more likely a junior high school kid who is trying to feel grown up and important by (only in his own mind) "winning" debates with adults

it is pretty certain that at least one of these trolls is simply such a child

and this one seems to be one of them

Posted by upi on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 9:19 am

progressives, then it really does help to explain why the left continues to fail in SF.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 9:31 am

only in his own mind

Posted by upkjlsd on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 10:01 am

I've been impressed with his erudition.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 10:13 am

Official Dogma of the San Francisco Rent Control Cult
1. Landlords are more evil than child molesters, serial killers and rapists… COMBINED!
2. We demonize landlords to make it socially acceptable to strip them of their property and keep it exclusively for our personal use. (Just as the Nazi's started out doing to the Jews)
3. We use the canard of "compassion" to attempt to shame and make others believe it's amoral to use,control and benefit from their legally owned property. That by letting us steal their property they magically become "good" people. (this does not work well with anyone who has intelligence, but luckily for us there are plenty who don't.)
4. Rent Controlled tenants (only) have special privileges that cannot be denied FOR ANY REASON. Just our undeniable magnificence makes the city a far superior place and therefore our special and exclusive price controls, are deserved and can never be removed FOR ANY REASON!, even if State Law allows it.
5. People who work and create technologies are worth less and have far less rights than our privileged selves and should not even consider living in OUR city (even though we actually OWN nothing). WE WERE HERE FIRST, so just go back to Mexi.. opps, we mean Cupertino.
6. For us GREED is a one way street, owners who want the legally obtained financial harvest from their property are GREEDY pigs, while we conniving coveters of valuable property owned by someone else, are never GREEDY, we just want what is obviously ours by the divine right of our exrta special greatness.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 11:04 am

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive deceptions, reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by hdhgk on Nov. 13, 2013 @ 11:14 am

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