98-Year-Old Woman Pays Rent on Time for 50 Years, Landlord Evicts Her to Make a Fast Buck

A 98-year-old San Francisco woman is being evicted from her apartment after 50 years, despite never missing her rent in those five decades.

Urban Green Investments is using the gentrifier’s loophole, the 1986 Ellis Act, to kick Mary Phillips out of her apartment so the company can cash in on the surging real estate market in San Francisco. The Ellis Act allows landlords to evict tenants if they are getting out of the rental business.

“I’ve been very happy here,” Phillips told KRON. “I’ve always paid my rent, I’ve never been late.”

Worse, Phillips is just one of many the low-income families and senior citizens being evicted.  But they’re not going down without a fight – mostly because they have nowhere else to go. Phillips says:

“I didn’t sit down and cry, I just refused to believe it.  They’re going to have to take me out of here feet first. Just because of your age, don’t let people push you around,”

According to the San Francisco Tenants Union, tenants fighting evictions done through the Ellis Act often win their cases.

The group Vanishingsf, which fights the “hyper-gentrification on San Francisco communities,” has encouraged people to protest Phillips’ eviction.

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“Who evicts a 98 year old woman?” a post on the Vanishingsf Facebook page asked. “Feel free to let Urban Green CEO David McCloskey, who’s evicting her, know what you think, ask him how he sleeps at night and if he’d put his grandmother on the streets. [email protected] (415) 651-4441 http://www.urbangreeninv.com.”

Rents are soaring year on year, rising 7% in San Francisco last year alone, pricing out many low and middle earners, and seniors from the area – while apartments are now 18% smaller than they were a decade ago.

Yet despite this unfolding housing crisis, State Sen. Mark Leno was recently forced to abandon a bill aimed at curbing the number of Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco due to a lack of support.

The San Francisco Democrat had fought vigorously for SB1439, which was proposed by Mayor Ed Lee, as a way to address the city’s pitiful supply of affordable housing and skyrocketing rents and property values.

The Young Turks discuss the eviction below.