Longtime San Francisco housing advocate faces his own eviction

The “owner-move-in” eviction is one of few cases a San Francisco Superior County judge is letting move forward

San Francisco /
Oct.October 15, 2021 11:50 AM
San Francisco Superior County Judge Charles Haines, a San Francisco activist Fernando Marti, and a view of 3868 23rd Street from behind (Getty Images, IStock, berkeley.edu)

A San Francisco activist who has protested evictions across the city for three decades now faces his own eviction.

Fernando Marti and his family, who have lived at 3868 23rd Street for more than 20 years, got an eviction notice in April 2019 from their new landlord, the Omran family, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. While the original request was thrown out due to a technicality, the family got a second notice two years later.

“It’s a very strange thing to be fighting for your own home,” said Marti, who is an architect and co-director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations.

The “owner-move-in” eviction of Marti’s family is one of a limited number of cases that a San Francisco Superior County judge is allowing to move forward amid a citywide ordinance that extends a pandemic moratorium. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors extended the ban on no-fault evictions through the end of 2021 after a state rule expired at the end of September.

Marti and his lawyer say the most recent notice is illegal and that Judge Charles Haines has violated the law by allowing it to proceed.

A recent demonstration to protest the pending move was attended by three city supervisors and an aide to a fourth.

“The entire effort to drive this family from their home violates the laws we have passed in San Francisco,” Supervisor Dean Preston said. “This eviction is illegal.”

The court hasn’t been consistent on recent rulings, according to Ora Prochovnick, director of litigation for the Eviction Defense Collaborative.

“Judge Haines has a lot of power to make these kinds of decisions,” she told the Chronicle. The judge has allowed evictions to proceed in cases where “health and safety” provisions were being violated and he has allowed some OMI cases to move forward while rejecting others, she said.

Marti, whose family pays $1,600 a month, said the Omran family owns at least four other properties in the city and a home in Marin County, leading him to believe they don’t actually need the home for themselves or a family member — the conditions for an owner move-in eviction.

“This eviction is awful, but we will push through it,” Marti said.

[SFChronicle] — Victoria Pruitt 




     

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