The residents of 2880-2898 1⁄2 23rd said today they are celebrating a victory in escaping Ellis Act evictions at their 10-unit building.
“This goes to show that tenants who stick together and fight Ellis Act evictions can force real estate speculators to back down,” said Steve Collier, a lawyer at Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Inc., which provided legal support to the residents. “This is a great victory for not only the residents, but our city as a whole. It’s a sign that Ellis Act evictions are not inevitable and change is possible.”
Residents will hold a press conference and barbecue to celebrate the victory on Saturday at noon in front of the building. The announcement was made today in a press release issued by Julien Ball, a community organizer with the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment.
The tenants had been in negotiations with Ash Gujral “a businessman and real estate speculator,” who issued the Ellis Act notices, according to the release.
Their talks to buy the building began after sending Gujral a Christmas card in December, saying “All we want for Christmas is to stay in our homes.”
Negotiations stopped in early March when the tenants discovered that Gujral had sold the building, according to today’s press release. Gujral could not be reached for comment.
“The new owner immediately reached out to us stating that he would rescind the Ellis Act Notice and immediately begin repairs of the building,” the press release stated.
The tenants have asked the new owner for the first “option to purchase” if he decides to sell after two years. “He has agreed, but has also expressed that he is not intending to sell in the near future,” according to the press release.
“While I’m relieved that we do not have to worry about leaving our homes and leaving San Francisco, I’m incensed by the actions of real estate speculators like Ash Gujral,” said Leila Salazar-Lopez, one of the residents quoted in the press release. “He put our families through hell for 6 months and will likely do it to other families, so I encourage renters to beware of Ash Gujral and supporters of housing rights to boycott his restaurant Roti Bistro and his wife’s interior design business, RE+Habit Design.”