Ellis Act Eviction Alert

PNNscholar1 - Posted on 19 January 2014

Ellis Act Eviction Alert

Another San Francisco elder falling prey to the Ellis Act by Eviction by Landlord and Speculators using State law to undermine rent Control.


Another San Francisco senior is being evicted from his long-term rent controlled flat courtesy the state’s predatory Ellis Act.  Benito Santigo is a disabled elder and teacher with the San Francisco Unified School District.  Mr. Santiago has lived in his Duboce Street flat since 1977.  He became disabled due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident in 1980.  Despite his physical limitations, he has devoted his time to teaching music to young people with developmental disabilities.  In a rental market that has seen a 170% increase in Ellis Act evictions and 38% increase in all evictions in the last 3 years, seniors are particularly vulnerable.  Many seniors are long term tenants in rent controlled housing, and, in the case of a high publicized eviction involving the Lee family in the city’s North Beach neighborhood, are evicted by real estate speculators looking to turn a profit by purchasing buildings and flipping them into tenancy in commons’ (TIC’s) in which each unit is sold as a separate mortgage.  The other motivation is to convert the units into condominiums.   

San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar hosted a recent town hall meeting on the issue of evictions in the District he represents—the Richmond District—District 1.  Mr. Santiago spoke at the meeting, along with other long term residents who told of being served eviction notices after their buildings were sold.  Many of the speculators that purchase rent controlled buildings are outside of San Francisco, some are located in other states.  One senior told of losing his housing and is now homeless, “couch surfing” while trying to navigate a housing situation that sees market rate housing reaching an average of over $3,200 a month for a one bedroom apartment.

Mr. Santiago is a valuable part of the community, as he is a teacher and has volunteered as a music instructor at the I-Hotel Manilatown Center, which is the heart of the tenant rights movement in San Francisco.  “Benito Santiago’s eviction shows the need to protect not only elders and those with disabilities in San Francisco from greedy landlords, but teachers too” said Tony Robles, Manilatown Heritage Foundation board member.  A San Francisco Bay Guardian article reports that 35% of teachers hired since July live outside the city.

Elders are being preyed upon by speculators and have been hard hit by evictions—especially in working communities and communities of color.  We call upon both local and state leaders to pay attention to the eviction epidemic that is hitting seniors extremely hard.  Ellis Act evictions have had catastrophic effects on the lives of thousands and those effects are being felt in places outside of the Bay Area.









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