Artist Turns ‘Paper Intimidation’ of Eviction Into Art

 

In July of last year, Artist Yolanda Lopez, her former husband and artist René Yañez and their son, artist Rio Yañez, got a letter notifying them that they were being evicted from the duplex where they had lived for more than three decades  on San Jose Avenue.

Their ages and illnesses  -  René Yañez and his partner Cynthia Wallis are suffering from terminal cancers – gave them a year to find a new place. Rio Yañez, 33,  said he is now living in Oakland, but moving is more difficult for his parents who are trying to fight the eviction.

For this show, Lopez worked with lawyer and author Adriana Camarena  to turn into art the onslaught of documents that ensued with the eviction process.

It is part of a wonderful show at the Mission Cultural Center, Sólo Mujeres: HOME: inside out that will be up until April 18th.

Also showing in upstairs gallery is the exhibit “Women that Byte,” a series of prints that address activism and resistance.  Both are part of today’s self-guided Mission Tour.   The reception at the Mission Cultural Center will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. but the show will be open all day.

SEE THE MAP for the tour here or below.

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27 Comments

  1. 24-24

    30 years renting the same place with no planning for the future ended up not being such a good decision i guess. Maybe an artist can focus on that instead of pointing fingers..

  2. I see they got a divorce, but they don’t think their landlord has any right to get one and they think the landlord must remain “married” to them for life……

  3. Frank

    Their family must assume responsibility here. Can’t the 33 year old son find a home to share with his father?

    • John

      Yes, this reminds me of that Asian family who recently got evicted after a similar period of time. They had 6 kids and none of them offered to help.

      And why, after decades of paying little rent, why didn’t they plan for this inevitability? And save some money instead of spending it all?

      • nutrisystem

        Yeah, sure. Everyone should just “save up” all that extra money from their $15/hour jobs that’s left over at the end of the month. That should be plenty to buy a million dollar apartment.

        • John

          Are you seriously suggesting that paying a peppercorn rent for decades provides no basis for building a nestegg for contingencies?

        • SF boy

          The Lee family are very elderly–late 70′s, early 80′s with an adult dependent disabled child.

          I doubt either parent ever earned more than $10 per hour during their work years, probably more like half that.

  4. Aristotle

    How is this the Property Owners “problem”?

  5. SOMA Guy

    Out with the old, in with the new.

    Do you think you can live in a big, thriving city, pay rent amounts that are three decades out of date, and everything will be fine forever?

    It’s housing inflation. And you live in a high inflation zone. Deal with it.

    • I dealt with it, I bought…. Thats the only realistic and sane way. Any other way is just not possible, but the crazy rent control addicts, think their alleged San Francisco values trump reality. No they are fantasy in the real world…..

  6. Anna

    Tenants paying far below the market rent for decades – have has this coming for decades. This outrage about the Ellis is just greed on the part of the tenant – they’ve had their cheap rent and don’t want to give it up.

    It’s a rental – and no one has the power to make property owners rent house his/her place forever. Many owners are just small mom & pop landlords, they need the Ellis to get out of the building and it’s costs them a fortune anyway.

    Thank goodness the voting base in SF is changing – people are really sick of something that is logical and inevitable – the end of rent control / means testing for rent control. It should never have been a subsidy that non means tested and provided by private citizens, with an annual increase so far below inflation.

  7. C. Russo

    Not a word of admiration from the low-class property owners commenting here for a tenant who likely forked over a few hundred thousand to her landlord over the years. They’ve got plenty of advice and shame for her, though.

    Make that no-class.

    • John

      A few hundred thousands? Doubtful.

      But even if true, so what? What do you think the cost of providing that housing was over “more than three decades”? What do you think the alternative revenues would have been had that property owner put the unit to a different use?

      Or doesn’t that count? And rent should be free?

    • NFS

      Three decades of maintenance, some utilities, taxes, insurance, major capital improvements, etc. would eat up a hell of a lot of this presumed few hundred thousand. In all possibility, the landlord was potentially taking a loss.

      • John

        The lack of basic knowledge about what is involved in being a landlord here is woeful.

        There appears to be an assumption that since the owner already owns the property, that the cost of providing that unit for rental is trivial, and that all the rent is “profit” (itself an ugly words in some extremist circles).

        There seems to be little realization that a rental property must provide a similar risk-adjusted ROI as other alternative investments else the owner will simply not make the unit available for renting at all.

        And indeed, the tens of thousands of rental units deliberately kept off the market in SF is a testimony to the fact that even the legislators fail to understand even the basics of providing rental housing. They complain that there aren’t enough homes available for rent while simultaneously maintain an environment where the provision of housing services is deterred.

        We need more politicians who have run a business themselves, rather than spending their sheltered life as a lawyer, activist or “professional” politican.

      • poor.ass.millionaire

        Oh Russo, and how about a word of admiration for the LL who basically gave these people a huge discount on rent for 30 years? I bet the money they saved with RC is more than the money the LL received by a few factors.

    • landline

      Virtually every landlord in this town is making a profit on their rental businesses. Otherwise, they’d be abandoning their properties rather than continuing to collect rents in anticipation of the super profitable windfall that awaits when they sell to the next generation of rentiers.

      Bloodsuckers of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your disdain for the wage earners whose toil sustains you.

      • John

        As always, landline misses the real point. The point isn’t whether a LL makes a profit but that he makes as good a profit, for the same degree of risk and effort, as he could get on another equivalent and available investment.

        So if the ROI available from stocks is 9% a year (which long-term has been the case) then you need at least 9% pa to bother with providing rental homes.

        If a LL isn’t getting 10% pa or more then he offers rentals only out of a sense of charity or inertia.

        If your public policy idea for affordable rental homes is to rely on the kindness or lethargy of strangers, then you’re in a lot of trouble.

      • landline

        The failure to differentiate between a virtually risk-free investment in San Francisco rental properties and much riskier investments in equity markets is either ignorance (doubtful) or propaganda to justify unproductive [rent seeking] or destructive [eviction] economic activity (likely).

        Which goes to show how easy it can be to make a living off other people’s productive economic activity (ie., work) if one dispenses with scruples and renames profiteering as kindness.

        • John

          landline’s comment is a perfect example of misinformation deliberately given out to advance bad policy.

          Nobody with actual experience of SF RE would ever argue it is “risk free”. Property investment is inherently risky as we saw as recently as 2007-2010.

          But beyond that there is the huge risk of being stuck with tenants like Lopex for decades. Or worse, finding yourself on the end of a lawsuit for something that would be perfectly legal and normal in 99.9% of the nation.

          Throw in the huge amount of capital required to buy SF RE, and the taxes on any profits, and it can clearly be seen that SF RE in general, and running rentals in particular, is high risk and therefore demands high returns,

          Finally, you complain that any LL not making a profit can quit the business. That’s true. Yet when a landlord does quit, as in the Lopez case here, then you complain that they quit the business.

          Make your mind up. Do you want us to quit or stay?

        • landline

          Wah, wah. Or boo fucking hoo. Minimal, easily skirted rules that protect tenants and are superceded by nuclear options like the Ellis Act are so burdensome that the landed victims have to spend their idle time lying and complaining about them.

          • John

            Increasingly desperate sounding misinformation from landlie.

            If it were easy to “skirt” tenant protections then the Ellis Act would not be needed.

            You said you want LL’s who aren’t happy to quit the business. Well Ellis is how we do that. Be careful of what you wish for as it may happen.

  8. Not reallyme

    Kinda sad to hear people making presumptions anout what Mr. Yanez and his son have been doing to support themselves over the last 30 years. A nest egg in itself is a luxury and there are plenty of people in this town who live check to check and don’t have one. The Yanez’s are artists and have contributed far more to this community than any one commenting on this post or reading this blog, hands down. Have some respect for those people in the world that are wise enough to pursue something more noble than their own petty wealth.

    Very sad to here about Rene’s cancer. Shame in his landlord for doing this now.

    • John

      We can have a debate about whether such people with no means can and should have a sustainable life in one of the most expensive towns on the planet.

      But your last sentence reveals a more serious problem. You are implying that a property owner essentially has a public welfare role in not issuing an eviction notice to anyone who happens to be ill (or old, or disabled, or non-white etc.)

      If that’s the case then landlords everywhere will be demanding that applicants have medical examinations before letting to them. Or perhaps renting only to young healthy-looking people.

      If the city wishes to extend housing security and affordability to certain segments of the community, then that should not be conducted by what is effectively a lottery. And landlords should not be placed in the position of having a lifetime welfare obligation to someone they may have made only a month-to-month agreement with.

      Landline glibly dismisses such concerns claiming that landlords can always just quit the business if they wish. But when they do quit, as in this case, you want to shame them into not doing that because a sick tenant somewhere may be inconvenienced.

      The real solution is for the poor and worthy to be helped from public funds that the voters have agreed to finance through taxes. It isn’t the job of individual business people to run welfare programs for the indigent.

  9. gc

    The City should construct low cost housing in bulk to assist families such as these. The City government should not be allowed to take private property and convert it to low cost housing. That happens in socialist run countries.
    If the City wishes to take properties to convert to low cost housing, property owners should be compensated for this taking of property. It’s the abuse of the principle of eminent domain by the progressive party.

  10. poor.ass.millionaire

    Bingo!

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