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.”

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I’ve been a Mission resident since 1998 and a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s J-school since 2019 when I retired. I got my start in newspapers at the Albuquerque Tribune in the city where I was born and raised. Like many local news outlets, The Tribune no longer exists. I left daily newspapers after working at The New York Times for the business, foreign and city desks. Lucky for all of us, it is still there.

As an old friend once pointed out, local has long been in my bones. My Master’s Project at Columbia, later published in New York Magazine, was on New York City’s experiment in community boards.

Right now I'm trying to figure out how you make that long-held interest in local news sustainable. The answer continues to elude me.

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21 Comments

  1. yeah! Congratulations! I think multi-unit aprtment buildings really ought to become co-ops. City purchases the land, the inhabitants of the units get 99 year leases…it’s a hybrid between owning and renting, but it takes speculation off the table which is what’s needed.

  2. change title of article to, “tenants happy they got a new owner”. It says they wanted to buy the building and were in negotiations with the owner. I’d really like to know the price they offered the owner and what the building sold for. My guess is that they offered half price so the owner just decided to get the market rate.

    The prior owner did try to work with the tenants and ended up selling to someone that isn’t going to Ellis Act. What fucking more do you want?

    I guess I can answer that. We want the same rent forever!!!

    1. Furthermore, what legal support did they get? The owner was able to sell the building and it doesn’t say that the owner tried to Ellis Act the tenants. What did anyone do to actually help fight Ellis act?

      Who even brought up the term Ellis Act as the owner was just looking to sell the building? None of this makes any sense.

        1. Oh Mission Local! At least be transparent about your agenda instead of hiding it behind poor journalism.

        2. How many new housing units have you developed?

          No need to wait for your answer. Zero.

          By definition, you are an extractor, not a producer. Your economic activity is a societal loss as you put the wages of your productive tenants into your pocket while you produce nothing.

          1. Your argument falls flat on its face. You have provided zero new units of housing. You are a used housing rent collector, nothing more. And your role is unnecessary.

            I have worked for many years in construction and have used my labor to help build houses and other structures. So I have done much more than you.

          2. The buildings that San Franciscans rent exist because of the workers who built them not the parasitic landlords who collect rents from them.

            It’s always the same. The owners look down at those that do the work or grow the food to justify their own worthlessness. “John” merely takes it to caricature.

          3. I understand the economics and the housing laws. Regardless of your love of property rights and idolization of capital mumbo jumbo, you play an unnecessary and negative role in the housing market. Money for nothing, the cornerstone of our political economy.

      1. The new owner bought the building under a 1031 exchange and cannot sell for a couple years. He has no intention in pursuing an Ellis Act.

        FYI: Some tenants in our building did receive legal extensions because they are elderly or disabled and legally could have stayed for an additional year.

  3. The Ellis Act was rescinded and that is a victory for us. You’re right, it wasn’t because we found a legal loophole, it’s because we were clear with Ash Gujral and co. that we did not want to leave and we’re willing to fight for our homes to the end, including a long legal battle. For whatever reason, he changed his mind and sold the building. He still made money, but he probably lost a lot for not pursuing the Ellis Act with us.

    1. But they sure are lucky, as that ever-knowing John puts it,
      for the landlord it would have been a, “trivial marginal cost to go to trial, especially knowing that you guys probably could not afford that.”
      Funny how the landlord knowing that they probably could not afford to go to trial made the expense of the trial trivial and marginal for the landlord.
      Knowing that John who is an entitled, frustrated bigot is threatened by your victory and success has made my payment to my own leech that much less this month

  4. Hmmmm….. whatever happened to that vocal tenant at 460 Noe? Did he abandon his comrades in the “fight”?

  5. This is pretty stupid article. It should just say “Building in the Mission sold to new owner”.

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