eviction defense

Evictions - Act Fast!

I often hear both landlords and tenants say that it is hard to evict San Francisco tenants. This is a myth. And its perpetuation is bad for both sides of the housing market.

This myth may inhibit a landlord with a genuinely troublesome tenant from getting rid of him or her. And the longer a landlord waits provides that troublesome tenant with a stronger defense. That is not good for either the landlord or the other tenants.

On the other hand, this myth may make a good tenant feel more secure than the circumstance permits.  For, even a basically good tenant who is a little late on rent and ignores (or does not see) a 3-Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit is in deep trouble, if the landlord chooses to evict. It does not matter to the court if you are out of town at Burning Man  when the 3-Day Notice is posted!

The reality is that if a landlord files for an eviction, it generally takes less than six weeks for the case to be fully resolved through a negotiated settlement, or a few weeks longer if the case goes to trial. This is because eviction cases are handled in a special, fast-track court process: a tenant only has five days to respond to an eviction Complaint; then a trial date is set approximately three weeks after the tenant has filed a response, in most cases. Compare this to other civil lawsuits where the defendant has four weeks to respond to the initial complaint, and the case may last one or two years!   

So, the lesson learned here is: because the eviction process happens fast, so, too, must you act fast.    

3rd eviction defense of the Cruz family home in South Minneapolis. May 29th, 2012.

Just before 4pm, a large force comprised of over 40 police officers, sheriff’s deputies and firefighters descended on a foreclosed home in Minneapolis. In their 3rd effort to evict and secure the home, law enforcement officers created a police line around the entire block, and would not allow traffic on the street or pedestrians on the sidewalks. 

For almost a month, the local Occupy Homes movement has maintained a presence in the foreclosed home. The house belongs to the Cruz family who are staying elsewhere since receiving their eviction notice. With the consent of the family, Occupy Homes has been using the house as a local social center while occupying the home and protesting an impending eviction.

There were multiple people inside the home when the police arrived, but only one protesters managed to lock himself to a large barrel filled with concrete which sat in the front entrance of the home. It took officers from the police and fire department over 45 minutes to cut the protester out and arrest him. Two other people were also arrested. It was unclear what for, but it seemed like they were arrested for being inside the vast police perimeter. One of the two other arrestees is reportedly a neighbor who was standing in their own yard. 

Meanwhile, upwards of 75 people showed up to protest the eviction. After watching from a distance as the officers worked to cut out the person still inside, a large group of protesters decided to lock arms and march past the police line to the home. 

The mood was tense and defiant as the protesters tried multiple times to push past the police line. Pepper spray and the threat of pepper spray was used momentarily by police, but ultimately, the officers were able to push the protesters back. Some protesters on the front line stated that police officers choked them as they were pushed back, and three women said that some officers deliberately pushed and grabbed their breasts in the midst of the confrontation. 

Once the lone person inside the home was cut out and carried off, the protesters marched to a local police precinct. With rush hour still winding down, the march took over half of a main street and then half of Highway 55, a main thoroughfare through Minneapolis. Once at the police precinct, the group took over the intersection in front of it, to further protest the eviction. 

At the precinct, it was announced that the city attorney is going to send a letter to Freddie Mac, now the owner of the mortgage, stating that the City of Minneapolis will no longer be responsible for securing the Cruz home starting the next morning. This means that Freddie Mac will need to hire it’s own security or take other measures to secure the home from protesters. Shortly after the announcement, the protesters walked back to the Cruz home to find only a small police presence. 

Officers sat in their cruisers and watched from a distance as the protesters re-occupied the yard but did not try to gain re-entry to the boarded up home. The protesters discussed the days events and what to do next. After hearing from a member of the Cruz family who urged that any further action wait until the next day, the group agreed. Pizza was ordered, and people stuck around a little further into the night to plan for what to do next.