A court ruled on Thursday that 18-year-old Terrance Hall could not be immediately evicted from an apartment at Valencia Gardens. It was the third time in two weeks the determination was made.
Superior Court Judge Charles Haines denied the attempt by the property manager, The John Stewart Company, to add Hall to a December order to evict Hall’s now-deceased grandmother, Patricia Harrison, from the public housing facility at 15th and Valencia Streets. Hall has been living in this apartment with his grandmother since he was 5.
Harrison had previously been fighting the eviction before she died on Feb 17. Three days later, Hall received an eviction notice of his own. Today’s ruling ensures that Hall will not be evicted — at least in the near term.
On March 7, Judge Haines denied the property manager’s attempt to evict Hall as his name was not listed on the original order to evict. On March 12, Judge Ronald Quidachay made a similar ruling. Today, Haines denied the property manager’s attempt to simply add Hall to the eviction orders and expediently evict him.
Hall, who was a minor at the time the eviction was filed last year, is not named in the papers that cite a list of “illegal activity” within the apartment as grounds for the family’s removal. That omission made it difficult for The John Stewart Co. to have its way.
Although today’s decision was a momentary victory, Hall’s attorney, Darren Orr of Bay Area Legal Aid, said the property manager “has given no indication that they are going to at all stop aggressively pursuing the eviction of my teenage client who has not been accused of doing anything wrong.”
Orr said that neither he nor Hall have received offers to settle the matter — nor any offers to provide alternative housing for Hall.
Orr said he wasn’t yet aware of what steps come next, but hopes the case goes in front of a jury to decide whether Hall was involved in — and should be evicted for — alleged actions named in an original November eviction notice. That filing alleged activities such as fighting, theft, and unauthorized tenants but does not specifically name Hall.
The John Stewart Company’s lawyer in the case, Mercedes Gavin, declined to comment outside the courtroom, saying that she was not permitted to speak to the press.
Jack Gardner, president of The John Stewart Company, said that his company has reached out Bay Area Legal Aid several times to discuss a settlement of the issue.
“We only pursue eviction as a last resort to protect the safety and well-being of other residents at the property, many of whom have asked us to take these actions,” Gardner said. “We have no desire to see the young man in question become homeless and we’ve been working very hard to find alternative housing that better fits his situation.”
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