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Tenants face absurd lawsuits as “low-fault” evictions increase

September 21, 2014

By : sfbg – excerpt

An annual report issued by the Eviction Defense Collaborative (EDC) highlights some of the outrageous reasons landlords use to evict tenants. Since 2009, EDC reported, there’s been a 62 percent increase in the number of breach-of-lease cases citywide.

Violations cited in the report included offenses such as “parking outside the parking lines,” or even cooking during nighttime hours…

The rise in “low-fault” evictions in 2013 occurred on a parallel track with no-fault evictions, which have received a great deal of media attention. Evictions that are based on an alleged action or violation by a tenant, as opposed to no-fault evictions initiated under the Ellis Act, for instance, grant less time for a tenant to vacate their unit. They’re easier on landlord’s wallets and don’t restrict subsequent use of a unit.

Low-fault evictions, or minor breach-of-lease cases, are providing the ideal platform for landlords to oust their tenants while still claiming some type of violation, the report indicates. The lengthy, complicated suits are often difficult for tenants to defend themselves against.

The EDC report showed an absence of court appearances in 38 percent of the 3,423 Residential Unlawful Detainers cases in 2013, demonstrating that tenants did not respond to the eviction notice in within the five-day deadline.

“Tenants just miss this narrow window,” said Tyler McMillan, executive director of the EDC. “It’s one of the shortest timelines in the court system.”…

“The story of increasing “low-fault” evictions is one that impacts some of San Francisco’s most vulnerable communities and ultimately threatens the diversity that makes San Francisco so unique,” the EDC report said.

The full report is available online at the EDC website here(more)

 

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