- This Week
Evictions are driving long-time renters out of their homes -- and out of SF. Here are the stories of several people being evicted
Mai told me that he knew a disabled senior was living in the building when he and his two partners bought it, but he said his plan all along was to evict all the tenants and turn the three-unit place into a single-family house. He said he hasn't decided yet whether to sell building; "I might decide to live there myself." (Of course, if he wanted to live there himself, he wouldn't need the Ellis Act.)
Mai said he "felt bad about the whole situation," and he had offered to buy Mykaels out. The offer, however, wouldn't have covered more than a few months of market rent anyplace else in the Castro.
By law, Mykaels can stay in his apartment until September. If he can't stave off the eviction by then, San Francisco will lose another longtime member of the city community.
Dark days in the Inner Sunset
By Rebecca Bowe
The living room in Rose and Willie Eger's Inner Sunset apartment is where Rose composes her songs and Willie unwinds after playing baseball in Golden Gate Park. Faded Beatles memorabilia and 45 records adorn the walls, and a prominently displayed poster of Jimi Hendrix looms above a row of guitar cases and an expansive record collection.
It's a little worn and drafty, but the couple has called this 10th Ave. apartment home for 19 years. Now their lives are about to change. On Jan. 5, all the tenants in their eight-unit building received notice that an Ellis Act eviction proceeding had been filed against them.
"The music that I do is about social and political things," explains Rose, dressed from head-to-toe in hot pink with a gray braid swinging down her back. Determined to derive inspiration from this whole eviction nightmare, she's composing a song that plays with the phrase "tenants-in-common."
Cindy Huff, the Egers' upstairs neighbor, says she began worrying about the prospect of eviction when the property changed hands last summer. Realtor Elba Borgen, described as a "serial evictor" in online news stories because she's used the Ellis Act to clear several other properties, purchased the apartment building last August, through a limited liability corporation. The notice of eviction landed in the mailbox less than six months later. (Borgen did not return Guardian calls seeking comment.)
"With the [average] rent being three times what most of us pay, there's no way we can stay in the city," Huff says. "The only option we would have is to move out of San Francisco." She retired last year following a 33-year stint with UCSF's human resources department. Now, facing the prospect of moving when she and her partner are on fixed incomes, she's scouring job listings for part-time work.
The initial notice stated that every tenant had to vacate within 120 days, but several residents are working with advocates from the Housing Rights Committee in hopes of qualifying for extensions. Huff and the Egers are all in their fifties, but some tenants are seniors—including a 90-year-old Cuban woman who lives with her daughter, and has Alzheimer's disease.
Willie works two days a week, and Rose is doing her best to get by with earnings from musical gigs. Both originally from New York City, they've lived in the city 35 years. When they first moved to the Sunset, it resembled something more like a working-class neighborhood, where families could raise kids. The recent tech boom has ushered in a transformation, one that Rose believes "changes the face of who San Francisco is." Willie doesn't mince words about the mess this eviction has landed them in. "I call it 'Scam-Francisco,'" he says.