Mary Phillips, 98-Year-Old San Francisco Woman, Evicted From Home of 50 Years
A 98-year-old woman is being evicted from the San Francisco apartment she’s lived in for 50 years by real estate speculators with a reputation for expelling vulnerable residents.
Mary Philips, who has lived in the Dolores Street apartment in the Mission District since Willie Mays was wowing Giants fans at Candlestick Park, is being booted from her home by her landlord, real estate investment company Urban Green Investments.
Under the state’s Ellis Act, landlords have unconditional eviction rights if they wish to leave the rental business. Landlords frequently evict tenants so they can sell properties, often after converting them to lucrative tenancy-in-common units, at a handsome profit.
With San Francisco’s median home price rising by 20 percent in the past year to over $1 million, there’s plenty of incentive for landlords to evict.
Phillips is one of the latest victims of this “crisis.”
“I’ve been very happy here. I’ve always paid my rent, I’ve never been late,” Phillips told KRON.
The elderly woman says she has nowhere else to live and does not know how much longer she’ll be able to remain in her home. Her attorneys are fighting the eviction.
Phillips says she’s not going out without a fight.
“They’re going to have to take me out of here feet first,” she defiantly vowed.
Attempts to contact UGI have been unsuccessful. Its website describes the firm as “a fully integrated real estate company with brokerage, property management and development capacities.”
UGI and its CEO, David McCloskey, have been named to the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project’s list of the “Dirty Dozen Worst Evictors.” The company currently owns some 385 units in 15 buildings.
Maria Knight was evicted from one of those UGI-owned units in North Beach.
“I like to use the term ‘demographic cleansing’ since that is what these evictions of moderate to low income people amount to,” Knight told BeyondChron. “The loss of the middle class, as you know, does not bode well for the future of a city or, of course, a country.”
The tenant advocacy group Eviction Free San Francisco led a Wednesday protest at UGI’s Union Street offices, Business Insider reports. Group leader Erin McElroy promoted a ballot initiative that will impose a graduated of between 14 and 24 percent on on real estate investors who sell a property within five years of purchasing it, a measure meant to curb speculation.
“We’ve actually found that 79 percent of Ellis Act evictions happen within five years of ownership, which means it’s primarily speculators and investors [doing this], and that’s who we want to target with this tax,” explained McElroy.
One experienced San Francisco real estate investor and attorney who did not wish to be named told Moral Low Ground that to fully understand this issue, the amount of Phillips’ rent should be disclosed.
“What is and what has been her rent for the past 50 years?” he asked. “And what is her income?”
“The tenant has had her cake for 50 years at the previous landlords expense,” he added. “The only way that previous landlord could recoup is by selling to a speculator.”
The investor, whose family has longtime ties to San Francisco, blamed laws passed by “carpetbagging” progressive politicians looking to further their own careers, especially members of the Board of Supervisors, for the mess San Francisco is in.
Meanwhile, Mary Phillips waits to learn her fate. She’s upbeat — despite UGI’s size and McCloskey’s clout, she remains undaunted.
“Just because of your age, don’t let people push you around,” Phillips told KRON.