Eviction Files: Jesús Sanchez Locked Out (update)

Jesús Sanchez tells of being locked out

Update: Saturday, 7:31 a..m.  KPFA is reporting that at 3 p.m. Sanchez got word that he would be able to return to the apartment. The segment is here, fast forward to 48 minutes.

Mission resident Jesús Sanchez says he came home Wednesday afternoon and found the locks to his apartment had been changed. He could not get in. Nor could he get to his belongings inside.

He called the police, but they could do nothing more than take a report. Yesterday he called the landord, who refused to let him back into the apartment. Remodeling may have already begun.

Today, some 50 of Sanchez’s friends and supporters gathered outside at 3374 24th Street (at Orange) to demand that he be allowed to return to the apartment where he had been a subtenant for the last 18 months, that the apartment be habitable and that his belongings be returned to him.

They did not expect any immediate reaction, but will escalate their actions if the landlord does not respond soon, organizers said.

Organized by Causa Justa/Just Cause, they argued that California law requires notice and a proper legal proceeding before a tenant can be removed from his home. Last year, some 40 percent of their cases came from the Mission District.

To get around this provision, Leticia Arce, an organizer for Causa Justa, noted that landlords employ a variety of tactics including harassment, buyouts and in an increasing number of cases, summarily locking tenants out. Although illegal, these tactics can be effective when used against working class and immigrant tenants, those most unlikely to know, or have the resources to enforce, their rights.

Hillary Ronen, speaking for Supervisor David Campos, called the Sanchez case an “outrage” and “unacceptable.”

Causa Justa said that in January, Sanchez reported a gas leak. PG&E shut off the gas until a repair was made, but Sanchez said that the building owners turned the gas back on without addressing the leak.

Sanchez is a subtenant and the master tenant attempted to evict him for reporting the leak and began harassing him to leave, according to Causa. “On Monday March 10, Sanchez says both the master tenant and the owner Eric Dabanne verbally attacked him, screaming that he leave without giving him proper notice,” according to the release by Causa.

HERE is more on his case. Neither the master tenant or the landlord could be reached for comment.

Sanchez and Causa’s organizers said they hope that as a result of community and media pressure, the landlord will open the door. Although the law may favor a tenant in Sanchez’s situation, the time and expense of a lawsuit often makes the legal route impractical if not impossible. And winning the right to return does not guarantee the landlord will not revert to the same or similar tactics, or decide to institute formal, and legal, eviction proceedings.

Supervisor Campos will be introducing a law on Monday establishing relocation costs paid by landlords under the Ellis Act be based on fair market value. A rally in support of the proposed law has been called for Monday at 12:30 on the steps of City Hall.

Campos is also trying to get a moratorium on the Ellis Act, and along with Causa and others, hoping to get a speculation tax on the fall ballot.

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  1. ThatGuy

    This guy is a moron. He’s a fucking _sub_ tenant. What do you expect? They asked you to leave… so LEAVE.

    People, use your brains.

    • blackHat

      Perhaps you should try using your brain, because it’s very obvious you don’t know what you’re talking about.

      Subtenants have rights under the law, and while the article doesn’t describe the precise nature of Sanchez’ tenancy, it’s nonetheless illegal (Penal Code § 418) to change the locks on someone, even if they are a subtenant.

      Furthermore, since this appears to have started when Sanchez reported a gas leak, this might also fit the criteria to be considered a retaliatory eviction, which is also illegal.

      The point is, being in the rental business means following established rules, and one doesn’t get to simply ignore those rules when it’s convenient.

      • ThatGuy

        I want to see the agreement he signed. Then we’ll be able to talk about who the genius is.

        My guess is that he signed nothing. Again: moron.

  2. Bob

    It sounds like he was an illegal subletter or maybe a squatter. Nice that Jesus has so many friends though!

  3. John

    The guy has no lease, no agreement and probably cannot even prove that he lives there. Both the owner and the tenant there don’t want him there and, in particular, if there has been any kind of threat against the real tenant, then he can get a TRO that will keep the subtenant out.

    Why doesn’t Jesus take on the qualities of his namesake, turn the other cheek, and move on with his fucking life?

    • financial karma

      When the bank illegally locks you out from one of your properties, you’ll cry louder than anyone.

      The law only applies when you think so. It must be blissful to be so stupid.

      • John

        No financial institution has ever needed to take such drastic action against me, but I certainly understand that they need to show zero tolerance towards deadbeats.

      • Old Mission Neighbor

        There’s a big difference from being locked out of a home that you own, and locked out a home that you’re sub-leasing. That difference, of course, being the legality of it.

      • I was “locked” out by a bank on a property I had just bought in San Diego. It was really the company that managed the defaulted property for the bank. I bought it in a short sale and they screwed up. Crazy thing was they only changed the lock on the front door, so I just opened up the 3 car garage and went in the side door in the garage with the old key. I threatened to sue and they paid me $1,200, so it worked out well for me…..

    • florence

      They locked him out without his possessions. It’s hard to “move on” when someone has illegally kept your possessions from you. Maybe he needs to leave, & who would want to live in such hostile surroundings, but he needs his stuff & needs to find somewhere else to live. I’m sure you know it is not easy to find vacancies, let alone affordable ones in SF – he needs time to do this & our laws are supposed to protect people in such vulnerable situations. My friend tried to sue her sub-tenant to get him to leave for many reasons, including non-payment of rent, but he prevailed. SF law has provisions to protect sub-tenants just as much as master tenants. Things should not be one sided.

    • blackHat

      Sanchez’ situation is not unlike most people living in San Francisco—there’s a master tenant, and other roommates who aren’t on the lease, but pay rent month-to-month. As he’s been living there for 18 months, i have a hard time believing he’s squatting. The simple fact is, whether the owner and master tenant want him there or not, at one point 18 months ago, someone agreed to let him live there. Maybe their relationship soured, or maybe the owner is still pissed off about him reporting a gas leak. Regardless, when you own rental property, you are legally bound to adhere to certain procedures. Eviction is a legal procedure, and notice must be given—you can’t just change the locks. Between that and evidence this might be a retaliatory eviction, the landlord/master tenant may have shot themselves in the foot insofar kicking Sanchez out.

      • John

        As already noted, a MT can evict a ST without just cause. That doesn’t mean he can do a lock-out, as you say. But it does mean that he doesn’t need a reason at all, and so retaliation wouldn’t work as an affirmative defense, in much the same way as it doesn’t work for an Ellis eviction or if the unit is not under RC.

        We haven’t been told if there was a 6.14 notice issued. Nor if the LL approved the sub-tenant. Absent approval, the ST can be evicted as well as an illegal sub-tenant.

  4. Chris

    What does this have to do with the Ellis act? Sorry, but this reads like yellow journalism.

    • Bob

      It’s typical Mission Local nonsense, that’s what it is.

    • Old Mission Neighbor


    • John

      Well, it’s good to see ML posting about one of the 99% of evictions that are not Ellis evictions.

      Now we just need ML to report that, in any given year, 99% of tenants do not get evicted.

      But there is no “shock, horror” headline eye candy in that, is there?

  5. Old Mission Neighbor

    “Although the law may favor a tenant in Sanchez’ situation…”

    Which law favors a sub-tenant in a case like this?

    • John

      A master tenant has the right to evict a sub-tenant without cause as long as the MT informed the ST of that right prior to the start of the sub-tenancy.

      If the MT is also the owner of the unit, he has that right even without prior written notification.

      In many case, there is no written agreement between the MT and the ST and, in those cases, the ST has even fewer rights. The MT could even claim that the ST was a guest, temporary visitor or trespasser, and the cops would usually give the benefit of the doubt to the MT unless the ST has clear unambiguous proof that he has some right to be there.

      Unless the ST has an obsessive nature, he should move on. Why would you want to share a home with someone who hates you AND has more power than you AND has the property owner on his side.

      Some battles are just not worth fighting.

      • florence

        I question what you are saying because a friend of mine took her sub-tenant to court to get him to move out but he prevailed. This was in SF, she rented an apartment & eventually had this person move in as a room-mate. He was regularly late on rent & problematic in other ways but under SF law he had the same protections as she would with the landlord. Since he could prove he had paid rent he was considered a legal tenant, just as she was, & he was allowed the same protections. She ended up leaving.

        • John

          Florence, like I said, it depends. If the MT reserved the right to evict without cause at the start of the tenancy, then the ST can be evicted.

          In practice, court cases can go either way. Many times neither a MT or a ST wants to pay for a lawyer because, unlike a landlord, they won’t carry insurance to cover the legal costs.

          If one side gets a lawyer and the other side does not, most times the side with the lawyer will win. Tenant “free” legal services do not generally extend to trial representation.

          Or a deal is made, of course. But there’s another dynamic here which is the fact that if two people live together who do not want to then one person usually withdraws.

  6. C. Russo

    Now, we know that certain trolls get a rise in their mommy-jeans when they read the word “eviction,” but subtenants do have rights. From the Housing Rights Committee of SF website:

    “The master and co-tenants are fully protected under just cause, meaning they can’t be evicted except through one of the reasons spelled out in the rent ordinance . . . . The subtenant is also protected if he/she has lived in the apartment for 30 days, moved in after April 25, 1998, and was not informed in writing by the master tenant before she/he moved in that her just cause protection was being waived . . . . The landlord can only evict all of the tenants in an apartment. It doesn’t matter if only one person has broken the lease. The landlord cannot evict just that one person. “

    • florence

      Yes, thank you. Sub-tenants are protected just as master tenants are, in SF.

    • John

      It wasn’t the LL behind this, it seems, but the MT.

      And as you note, the MT can evict a ST without just cause. This is based on the fairly reasonable principle that having someone living in your home sharing the common areas is very different from renting out a unit where do you do not live.

      • poor.ass.millionaire

        Johns right here. The sub tenant has very limited rights. It’s the master tenant that probably instigated this, as they were not getting along. there is no just cause needed to evict the sub. for christsake people, these two live in the same house. If you have an asshat in there, you need the ability to remove said asshat quickly.

        This protest/schmotest is much ado about nothing, except it get supervisor Crapos more visibility as he heads to Sacramento. God he’s such an over zealous and transparent schmuck! OTOH, by royally screwing over future renters and home seekers, he sure is making me rich. At this rate all I need is to acquire ione or two more good properties in this cycle, and I can be assured that all of my SF RE will be precious and super valuable in the future. Thanks Crapos!

        • C. Russo

          The protest/schmotest worked.

          • John

            Lockouts usually aren’t legal even when justified. But i do not give Jesus long there as it will be an unbearable situation and a formal eviction will soon follow if Jesus doesn’t walk out himself.

            And if Jesus is an illegal, he may soon regret all this publicity.

  7. Joe Shlabotnik

    He would not have had this problem if our country didn’t leave our border unlocked.

    • John

      Joe, I didn’t see in the cited article where it was stated that Jesus was an illegal. Although if he was then no doubt “Just Cause” would have kept his secret anyway.

      If he is an illegal, then it is trivially easy for a LL to regain possession. A call to ICE and then, upon federal internment, file a notice of tenant abandonment – a valid form of eviction.

      • Joe Shlabotnik

        John, if you go to the link provided he is labeled a immigrant and that he is available for interviews with a translator provided. In PC SF immigrant is double-speak for illegal alien.
        Sure there is a chance he was born in the USA, and if he was I apologize, but I’m willing to bet he was not.

        • John

          Good point. The citizenship test is only conducted in English so there should be no legal immigrants who do not speak English unless they are over 70 or so – they get an exemption.

          While if he were born here then he would surely speak some English.

          If so, he should duck as it could invoke a call to ICE. Heck, anyone reading this could make that call.

          • voice of reason

            Legal residency does not require a citizenship test, notwithstanding your fascist/snitch fantasies.

            When did this site become infested with a bunch of racist xenophobes?

          • Joe Shlabotnik

            Maybe when SF decided to ignore federal law and declare SF a sanctuary city. I’m not racist: I think all illegal alien Chinese, Irish, Russian, Mexican, Canadian et al should be deported.

          • John

            Correct, Joe, “voice of reason” is wrong here. There are other ways to be in the US without citizenship but, aside from a green card, they are temporary. And even someone with a green card can be deported if they are convicted of a crime.

            And yes, many illegals are white. The two I know personally are both from Europe, in fact.

            The real point here is that if Jesus is an illegal, then he can easily be made to “go away” if he pursues legal options here. Same applies if your LL is an illegal.

          • voice of reason

            Nothing I wrote is wrong. Is you lying pathological? Do you always change the subject when someone refutes one of your statements?

          • John

            Sorry, voice, but while English competency does not mean someone is legal, a lack of English is a good prima facie indicator that someone is here illegally.

            The folks I know who are here on a green card all speak English. The probability here is that Jesus is an illegal.

          • marcos

            “John” is a subjective solipsist, his perceptions and his opinions are all that matter, and every conversation gets framed around those two pillars.

          • John

            As usual, marcos cannot refute me and so resorts to a personal attack in lieu of a coherent argument.

            Why do you always make it so easy for me to win?

    • Kaliman

      Welcome to the shark commentary zone. The LL is in cahoots with the master tenant. Something is fishy. The sub-tenant has protections and rightly so.

      What about the negligence on behalf of the LL and master tenant on the gas leak? Sounds like a pro-active sub-tenant being penalized – but for what?

      This crowd sure smells of anti-immigrant, pro-LL, anti-rent control malcontents.


      • John

        Kaliman, what we do not know here is whether the subletting was legal or not. If it was an unauthorized sublet (and almost all leases require prior written LL consent) then Jesus doesn’t have a defense.

        The LL could in fact evict both the MT and the ST for that, or could evict just the ST. And as previously noted, the MT can probably evict without just cause.

        That said, a “lock out” is usually illegal, although the cops don’t typically get involved, leaving it as a a civil matter.

        But litigation costing each party thousands is dumb for what is essentially a roommate squabble.

    • Native

      Typical ignorant racist rants. Just because he is latino and speaks spanish he is undocumented?. Get an education folks! Wow and the jokes about his name! Coming from white privilege who don’t have a clue about anybody else but themselves.

      • John

        Native, that’s unfair. The vast majority of illegals are Hispanic, for obvious geographic reasons.

        That’s not to say that all illegals are Hispanic, and in fact I personally know two who are not.

        But throw in the name (“Jesus Sanchez”) and it doesn’t seem very likely he is from Laos, Liberia or Latvia.

        That said, I believe the inference of illegality is because of his inability to speak English.

  8. landline

    Direct action gets the goods. Sanchez returns home contrary to the idle speculation and flawed legal analysis from the landed gentry punditocracy. Or is that idiocracy?


    • marcos

      This is good shit right here.

      • John

        Two people who hate each other forced to share a home is not “good shit”. If one of them ends up dead your victory will be empty.

        Lockouts are usually illegal and so it made sense for the LL to relent (if that’s true). The ebst way to get Jesus out is to either for the MT to make the home environment unbearable or for either the MT or the LL to call ICE if Jesus is illegal, which he probably is.

        There is an ICE hotline number and the “sanctuary city” nonsense doesn’t stop the Feds.

    • Kaliman

      Ha ha ha…”the landed gentry punditocracy” is perfect!!

      Of course they’ll continue to debate this until the high fallutin troll and his cronies has the absolute last word. Mark my words.

  9. landline

    What debate is there? The illegally locked out tenant returned to his home despite erroneous predictions from the landed gentry idiocracy.

    The John/marcos comments now are just foreplay before the inevitable coupling.

    • John

      Thank you for responding to me, landline. I’m happy to educate you on what the debate is.

      The fact that Jesus has wormed his way back into a home where he is not welcome is just an incident. The real question is how this plays out.

      He’s living with a person who hates him, under a landlord who hates him, he has few rights as a subtenant, he can be evicted without cause and he is probably an illegal.

      You want to bet good money on him still being there in a few weeks? I wouldn’t.

  10. landline

    Chronic masturbation causes blindness and hairy palms.

    • John

      I feel sure that when marcos first developed his political ambitions, maybe 30 years ago, he could only dream that the pinnacle of his political success and achievement would be losing debates to someone with zero political experience on an anonymous chatsite.

      He must feel so proud.

  11. “Housing is a human right” And there is plenty or housing in Modesto , so get “right” on over there.

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