A woman neighbors described as mentally disabled is set to be evicted as early as Wednesday morning from the house that Jack Halprin, a Google employee and Mission landlord, bought in 2012 for $1.4 million.
The one-page Notice to Vacate warns the tenant, Rebecca Bauknight, that the Sheriff’s Office will evict her anytime after 6 a.m. on Wednesday, June 10.
While fellow tenants are planning to block the eviction by standing quietly with lit candles in front of Bauknight’s apartment, a spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Department said it’s unclear when or if the eviction will take place. The eviction could be delayed “if any information comes forward to change our analysis” of the situation, said Mark Nicco, assistant legal counsel to the Sheriff’s Department. The date on the notice, he said, allows an eviction anytime going forward.
While Halprin’s remaining tenants recently succeeded in delaying their Ellis Act evictions in court, Bauknight, who is in her late 50s, did not join their lawsuits. Her condition prevented her from filing papers on time or making court dates, according to a neighbor.
Bauknight could not be reached for comment. Tenants said that after getting the notice from the Sheriff’s Department, she reached out to them. “She is scared,” said one neighbor. Bauknight has been living at 812 Guerrero for 25 years and is the longest-standing tenant still at the building, according to others who live there.
The house that Halprin bought has become a symbol of the abuse of the Ellis Act, a 1986 state law that was passed to allow long-term landlords a way to exit the rental business. In times of market pressure, however, speculators and individuals purchase buildings on the cheap and then use the Ellis Act to rid them of tenants. The units can then be sold.
Many officials and advocates say the 812 Guerrero house illustrates such an abuse of the Ellis Act.
The $1.4 million purchase price for the building reflected the income the seven-unit building generated from its tenants. Without tenants, the building would have been substantially more valuable.
Halprin first enacted an owner-move in eviction for himself and and another, on a second unit, for his then partner. When the partner failed to move in, the evicted tenant filed a wrongful eviction lawsuit. She eventually settled out of court, but several of the tenants think the acrimony from that eviction turned Halprin against them.
He served all his tenants with Ellis Act eviction notices in February 2014.
The tenants, including two teachers, recently had those evictions quashed in court because of procedural mistakes. Halprin has appealed those decisions. If he loses the appeals he can restart the process or drop the evictions.
Bauknight would be the first tenant to be forcibly evicted from the building by the Sheriff’s Department. It’s unclear if that can be prevented at this point.
Nicco, from the Sheriff’s Department, said anywhere from 6 to 12 notices of eviction are issued every week, but not all are acted on immediately. He said the Eviction Services Unit assesses the situation to get help for tenants with special circumstances. They would not, he said, leave someone out on the street.
Report from Wednesday morning’s rally to protect tenant, June 10, 2015