Eight long-term elderly Chinese tenants of San Francisco’s North Beach Neighborhood will be spared from eviction from their homes at
152-162 Jasper Place, pursuant to a settlement reached with their landlords yesterday. The pending evictions of the tenants under the Ellis Act received widespread coverage in the mainstream and Chinese language media. The tenants range in age from 69 to 89 years old, and most have lived there for 30 - 40 years.
In a clear example of real estate speculation, the owners of the property bought the building in 2007, invoked the Ellis Act in 2008, and hoped to profit by evicting the tenants and selling the building, either vacant or after renovation, as Tenancies in Common (TICs).
Vowing to fight the evictions, the tenants, represented by attorney Steve Collier of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, contested the evictions in court and affirmatively sued the landlord for failing to comply with Notices of Violation issued by the City’s Housing Inspector. The tenants and landlords settled the litigation when the landlords agreed to dismiss the evictions, withdraw the Ellis Act, and not evict the tenants in the future.
Real estate speculation had a very human cost on these tenants.
Shortly after receiving the eviction notices, one of the tenants, who had grown up in the building, committed suicide due to the mounting stress of the situation. His mother remains in the apartment but has since lost 40 pounds and suffers from severe depression.
“This is a great victory for the seniors facing the life-threatening loss of their homes,” said attorney Collier. “These and other tenants are often told that they cannot win an Ellis Act eviction and should just move. This settlement shows that tenants can fight back and keep their homes.”