"In the late 1970s, the city of Santa Monica enacted local legislation to help protect rent-controlled properties and specifically to protect low- and moderate-income tenants from eviction. Then came Jerome Nash, a young landlord whose mother had bought him a building when he was 17. Finding the business of owning a building unsuitable a few years later, he hoped to tear down the building (which of course meant evicting his tenants), but was denied a permit because of the city’s recent housing protections. Nash challenged the decision in court and succeeded, but lost on appeal in the state Supreme Court (Nash v. City of Santa Monica in 1984).
Luckily for him, he had a buddy in state government, Republican Senator Jim Ellis from San Diego. Ellis introduced and subsequently passed an act essentially intended just for Nash to get out of his particular predicament. The gist of this new California law allowed landowners to get out of the business of being a landlord and get out from under public protections for housing (such as Santa Monica’s rent control law)….
Jeremy Mykaels is the lone tenant in his Castro building apartment, where he has lived for the past 18 years. As a disabled senior, he was allowed a full year’s notice to vacate the premises following an Ellis eviction, as opposed to the normal 120-day period. His year ended, but he challenged the procedural process of the eviction. His case was dismissed upon the discovery that his landlord had incorrectly stated the amount of rent Mykaels was paying. Since then, the owner has yet to attempt to Ellis him out of the building again.
In a recent email, Mykaels had the following advice for tenants willing to dig their heels in and stay put: Get a good lawyer who will scrutinize the Ellis filing (as he did), connect with a tenants counseling group (like the Tenants Union or the Housing Rights Committee), and – perhaps the most difficult one – make your eviction account public. “It was not easy for me to have to publicly divulge the fact that I am a gay senior living with AIDS who was being evicted under the Ellis Act in order for the media to take notice of my story,” he says. But they did take notice and that may well have contributed to the fact that he’s still living in San Francisco.
Mykaels acknowledges that it’s not feasible for every single tenant to stay and fight in the way that he did, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t something to be gained by ruffling some feathers on the way out.”
read more: thebolditalic, 13.01.14.