Challenging The Ellis Act

ESPEsperanza is a disabled monolingual Spanish speaking senior citizen of San Francisco who came to La Raza Centro Legal in need of assistance after receiving a letter from the new landlord announcing an eviction under the Ellis Act with a $25,000 offer for relocation expenses (the Ellis Act provided for only $9,000 for Esperanza and a 12 month extension). However, Esperanza had lived in her home for 25 years and her disability made it very difficult for her to find a suitable place to move in. Esperanza opted to remain in the unit and wait for the 12-month notice as a disabled person, 120 days  for regular tenants.

Sadly, soon after she rejected the offer and communicated her desire to stay in the unit, the landlord began to retaliate. For example, the hot water was turned off. The water heater vents were blocked, which prevented the water heater from producing hot water. The landlord stated it was an accident. Also, the landlord cancelled her parking rights claiming that Esperanza never had the right to park in the parking lot in the back of the building even though she told the new landlord that she had parked in that location for many years.

Our Senior Program Coordinator, Carlos Osorio decided to put an end to the landlord’s retaliation. Carlos contacted the Rent Board, the manager, and the landlord’s attorney. After presenting evidence of  retaliation, the landlord’s attorney knew there were too many violations of the law and contacted Carlos to settle the case. After intense and lengthy negotiations, Carlos was able to secure $75,000 for relocation expenses, no rent for 5 months, and an extension totaling 9 months!