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Protesters defend San Francisco woman, 98, from eviction

Published time: July 10, 2014 15:32
Screenshot from youtube.com/user/kron4tv

Screenshot from youtube.com/user/kron4tv

Mary Phillips has lived in the same San Francisco apartment for more than half of her 98 years on Earth, and this week she's saying that even an eviction notice isn’t going to get her to move.

Fifty years after she first started receiving mail on Dolores Street, the nonagenarian and the rest of the residents of her building now face an imminent eviction because the property’s owner, Urban Green Investments, is relying on California’s Ellis Act of 1986 to give tenants the boot.

Under the Ellis Act, landlords can unconditionally evict tenants in order to get out of the renting business. The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project claims UGI’s owner relied on the act no fewer than 43 times to unload unwanted properties during the last decade, however, and alleges that the company is merely buying and selling buildings in order to turn a profit.

"[UGI] is taking advantage of a political economy that the tech community has fueled," Erin McElroy ofEviction Free San Francisco told Business Insider this week, referring to the environment that has made the region one of the most costly areas to live in in America.

“I’ve been very happy here,” Phillips pleaded with local network KRON 4 this week. “I’ve always paid my rent, I’ve never been late.”

Nevertheless, property owners are allowed under the Ellis Act to evict tenants like Phillips if they say they want to stop renting, and often they have to compensate the party with a few thousand dollars, at most, which could be earned back in a few months’ time by flipping the property or having it leased to someone else at a much higher rate.

“What we’ve seen is groups of investors are banding together to buy property, usually it’s when a landlord dies and it’s sold as an estate sale, or when someone just wants to sell to retire and then the speculator buys the property evicts the tenants by using the Ellis Act,” Steve Collier of Tenderloin Housing Clinic explained to a local NBC affiliate last year.

Philips was first told she’d be evicted last April, shortly after UGI took control of the Dolores St. building. Now more than one year later with an eviction more imminent than ever, anti-Ellis Act demonstrators protested outside of the property’s owners office on Wednesday this week to urge UGI to leave the building and its residents alone.

Eviction Free San Francisco’s McElroy was among the attendees at this week’s protest, and told Business Insider that a solution to Ellis Act abuse could be a ballot measure she’s currently touting around town. If approved, property owners who sell-off buildings within one year of purchase would be taxed 24 percent on that sale, compared to a 14 percent tax for those who sell within five years.

"We've actually found that 79 percent of Ellis Act evictions happen within five years of ownership, which means it's primarily speculators and investors [doing this], and that's who we want to target with this tax," McElroy explained to BI during Wednesday’s event.

Tax or no tax, Phillips says she isn’t going to leave anytime soon.

“They’re going to have to take me out of here feet first," she told KRON. “Just because of your age, don’t let people push you around."

Comments (15)

 

ShamanX 11.07.2014 18:51

All sentiment aside... being 98 and having lived there 50 years doesn't give this woman a 'right' to live there. She is actually infringing on the property owner's rights to do what they want with the property.

It may sound harsh, but people have a misguided sense of what 'rights' are. Generally speaking a right is something that when exercised... doesn't violate someone else's rights.

 

Leon the Professional 11.07.2014 05:29

Sid Fredrickson 10.07.2014 17:26

It's their property. They own it. They have the right to do with it what they want. Sorry for the old lady, but perhaps instead of being a renter she should have become a home owner at some point in her 98 years.

  


People like you make me want to throw up.

Fact: Vultures buy property, kick people out, and rent it out again at inflated prices.

Fac t: In many cities this is illegal

Fac t: This woman suffers and is threatened to lose her home because some corrupt politicians decided to change the law.

Airhead.

 

Justin T. Shockley 10.07.2014 21:45

Shes my hero.

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