Update: An earlier version of the chart in this story misstated the overall number of eviction notices in the city. This error has been fixed.
On Thursday morning, the case to evict longtime Mission resident Alicia Flores over rent debt was dropped over a technicality.
According to Claire LaVaute, an attorney for the Eviction Defense Collaborative and Flores’ representative, the original eviction notice served to Flores stated that payment of back rent had to be made in person. In reality, it is legal to send rent by mail.
“This case shouldn’t have been brought to the court in the first place,” said LaVaute, “as Ms. Flores wanted and tried to pay her rent, but was delayed due to the disabilities that come with age.”
Flores lives in a four-bedroom apartment at 23rd and Mission streets. She is a monolingual Spanish speaker who rarely leaves her home, due to problems with her movement and vision.
Janet and Kenneth Siu, Flores’ landlords, served her an eviction notice in October last year. Their eviction proceedings claimed that Flores owed them $1,900.86 in rent.
But, according to Tiffany Norman, representative for the Sius, they were actually owed almost $23,000. Norman said that the owners were only claiming a small portion because shifting Covid-19 rent protections over the past few years made it hard to know exactly how much could be recovered.
Now that the eviction has been quashed, at least for now, LaVaute said that Flores would soon pay off the $1,900.86 stipulated in the landlords’ complaint. She added she would be helping Flores and her son, Rene Ortez, set up a bank account to handle rent payments. Payments had previously been made by dropping off checks in a lockbox.
Norman said that she was not yet sure whether the Sius would pursue further litigation.
“We are very glad for her victory and will be working to help her avoid any further attempts at eviction,” said LaVaute.
Evictions crashed during COVID,
but now they are creeping back up.
Ellis Act withdrawal
Evictions crashed during
COVID, but now they
are creeping back up.
Ellis Act withdrawal
Chart by Will Jarrett. Data from the Rent Arbitration Board.