Removal that refers to the physical presence of the person, but also to the cultural, linguistic, relational presence that exists outside of communities of people. It is a movement that results from a lack of economic and social power.
Costa-Hawkins mandates that rent control may not be applied to units constructed after 1995, single family homes or condos. Furthermore, it prohibits “vacancy control.” Vacancy control occurs when rental units voluntarily vacated by their previous tenants are restricted to the previous rent-controlled rate instead of allowed to rise to market rate.
The Ellis Act is a state law which says that landlords have the right to evict tenants in order to “go out of business.” All units in the building must be cleared of all tenants—no one can be singled out. Most often it is used to convert to condos or group-owned tenancy-in-common flats. Once a building becomes a condo, it is exempt from Rent Control regardless of the age of the building and even if a unit owner subsequently rents to a long-term tenant. As we found, nearly 80 percent of Ellis Act evictions filed between 2011 and 2014 were conducted withing five years of property ownership, revealing the speculative nature of this eviction type.
If a landlord is going to evict tenants, and that eviction is permissible by law (even if we believe it is unjust), the landlord must follow a series of legal procedures in order for the eviction to be a valid and legal eviction. It is highly common for landlords to evict or attempt to evict tenants in illegal ways—such as excessive rent increases or refusing to make repairs—and if tenants are unaware of their rights and of this process, it can result in tenants being forced out of their homes under illegal conditions.
In order for an eviction to be legal, a landlord must serve a proper written notice, in paper, either by mail or on the door of the tenant’s home. A landlord serves a notice to “cure or quit” when they believe the tenant has violated a specific provision of the rental agreement or lease. This is most often a three-day notice to “cure or quit” OR a 30–60-day notice terminating tenancy. Even if tenants are covered under Just Cause law, a landlord may evict tenants for a reason of “no-fault” to the tenant, such as Owner-Move-In or Ellis Act evictions.
If a valid three-day notice is served, the tenant must respond in three calendar days to their landlord to “cure”—as in fix—whatever violation of the lease agreement the landlord raised to justify a “just cause” eviction, including nonpayment of rent. If the tenant believes the notice is invalid (insofar as they have not breached their contract as they are being accused of), they can also send a letter to the landlord, certified mail, responding to the eviction notice to contest it within three days (e.g. they have paid rent but the landlord has not accepted their rent checks). If the tenant does not respond within three days or “cure” the issue within three days, this does NOT mean the tenant must leave on the fourth day.
At this point, the landlord must file a Summons and Complaint for Unlawful Detainer with the court. Some landlords do not file the UD right away, some landlords do. Once the tenant receives the summons for UD, the tenant has five calendar days to file their response to the lawsuit in court.
If a tenant does not respond, they lose as part of a default judgment. At this point, they will receive a Sheriff’s Notice, letting them know the date they must vacate the property. In San Francisco, courts may grant a one-week (sometimes longer, but rarely) stay of eviction which allows the tenant a bit more time to secure another form of housing.
If they do respond within the five days, they will then be assigned a date for a settlement conference between their attorney and their landlord’s attorney. If their case does not settle at this conference, their case will then go to trial. If they win their trial, they will stay in possession of the property and will recover the cost of the lawsuit. At this point, the tenant is expected to pay all back rent, unless the jury decides that they can pay a decreased amount due to the landlord needing to making repairs or improve habitability of the unit.
Alternatively, a landlord can also serve a 30- or 60-day notice terminating tenancy to legally evict a tenant after a breach of contract. If the tenant does not terminate their tenancy, the landlord will file a Summons and Complaint for Unlawful Detainer. The same process follows as described above.
If you receive an eviction notice, or are threatened with eviction in any way and are not sure how to respond, seek counsel with your local tenants union or tenants rights clinic! You can fight your eviction! See our resources for more info.
When housing is bought on credit via a mortgage, foreclosure occurs when the property owner cannot meet their debt obligations to their lender and thereby forfeits their right to the property. Foreclosure is a lengthy process, and they take at least three months to complete after the lending bank first files a notice of default to begin the process. Foreclosures often occur when large life events—such as illness or death or sudden changes in employment—make it difficult to make mortgage payments on time. Real estate speculation during the 2007 housing bubble and subprime mortgages also drove many buyers into overpriced houses whose mortgage payments became unaffordable as their mortgages matured and house prices went underwater when the bubble burst.
Causa Justa::Just Cause, a grassroots community-based organization that organizes around housing, immigrant rights, and building black and brown leadership in our movements, defines gentrification as “a profit driven race and class remake of urban, working class communities of color that have suffered from a history of disinvestment and abandonment. This process is driven by private developers, landlords, businesses, and corporations and supported by the state, through both policies that facilitate the process and funding in the form of public subsidies. Gentrification happens in areas where commercial and residential land is cheap, relative to other areas in the city and region, and where the potential to turn a profit, either through re-purposing existing structures or building new ones is great.”
Peers coming together in a spirit of cooperation and equity to build a mutual network of support—the opposite of charity—to be self-managed, self-organized, self-determined, and self-governed in a humane, person–to-person way with dignity and respect. In all of its partnerships and collaborations, the AEMP operates on a principle of mutual aid.
Some Bay Area cities have “Just Cause” eviction ordinances on their books which restrict when evictions can legally occur. Just cause for eviction can either be by the fault of the tenant (e.g. breach of contract), or be by “no-fault” of the tenant. No-fault causes for eviction in San Francisco include Ellis Act evictions, owner move-in, demolition, capital improvements, or sale of unit converted to a condo. Without Just Cause eviction ordinances, there are no barriers to landlords evicting rent-controlled tenants at will to raise the rent to market rate for the next tenant.
A term created by the legal arm of the real estate industry to create a false distinction between those who can afford to pay rent (“good renters”) and those who can’t (“bad renters”). Many of us are one paycheck or health emergency from a “fault eviction.”
No-Fault Evictions increased 42% between 2011 and 2012 and increased another 57% between 2012 and 2013.
The AEMP uses Oral History methodologies when interviewing folks for the project. We choose to conduct oral history interviews, rather than more journalistic interviews, because we want to create a space for folks to share the stories of their whole lives, how they make meaning of their life, their community, and the forces that have impacted them, not just a specific story about their eviction, for instance. Oral history interviews are guided by the person being interviewed and aim to get a sense of the “life story” of that individual, as they want to tell it. Oral history interviewing has the potential to break down the power dynamics of more journalistic interviewing processes, as the interviewee is in control of the interview, and there are several consent processes built into ensure that interviewees are comfortable and willing to share their interview and whatever other media it becomes a part of.
Tenants subject to no-fault evictions in some cities with Just Cause Eviction Ordinances are entitled to a relocation payment to defray moving costs and ease the transition into a new dwelling. In San Francisco, these relocation payments are approximately ~ $5,500 per tenant up to ~ $15,000 per unit. Tenants asked to temporarily relocate during substantial capital improvements are also entitled to relocation payments of ~ $300 for up to 20 days.
Rent control/stabilization ordinances limit the amount that rents are allowed to increase each year. Rent increase limits are usually based either on a fixed percentage maximum increase or tied to inflation. When rents are not controlled or stabilized, they are at the discretion of the landlord and often allowed to float at “market rate,” whatever price they can command on the housing market. Without rent control, there is no reason landlords cannot illegally evict tenants through informal means, such as excessive rent increases, that would lead to a breach of contract on the tenant’s part and formal, legal eviction proceedings. In San Francisco, rent control only applies to multifamily properties built after 1979 and is tied to inflation. In California, Costa-Hawkins put further restrictions on which units are eligible for rent control.
In light of the new wave of economic displacement currently facing the San Francisco Bay Area, cities across the region are being pushed to adopt new rent control ordinances (e.g. Richmond, the City of Alameda) or strengthen existing ones (e.g. San Jose).
Private double-decker luxury commuter buses, more commonly known as “Google Buses” that take highly paid tech workers from S.F and Oakland to their workplaces in Silicon Valley. The private shuttle program has created a two-tier system of commuting using public bus stops and creating higher rates of displacement near to shuttle stops. They have effectively made S.F a bedroom community for Silicon Valley.
The AEMP found that between 2011 and 2013, no-fault evictions increased 69% within four blocks of private shuttle stops, as real estate becomes more valuable when advertised in proximity to these stops.