VIDEO: Artists living in San Francisco warehouse evicted from their homes

 

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — The residents of a warehouse in San Francisco’s Bernal Heights neighborhood have been evicted from their homes.

It is one of the first cases of occupants of a warehouse being forced to move out since 36 people were killed in the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland back in December.

There were eight tenants living inside the warehouse along Peralta Avenue in San Francisco. All of the occupants are artists and they’ve been working for months to keep their home, but earlier Wednesday, they were told they have to leave.

Nathan Cottam has lived in the two-story warehouse for two-and-a-half years, but no longer.

On Wednesday, San Francisco sheriff’s deputies served the building’s residents an eviction notice and the locks on the front door were changed.

Nathan says he feels like his family is being broken up.

“It’s an artist collective,” Cottam said. “It’s a community. It’s a family.”

But the eviction wasn’t entirely unexpected. For months, the tenants have struggled to keep their home.

Following the deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland back in December, the warehouse was inspected by the city and cited for numerous safety violations. The tenants attempted to address those problems but in late March, they lost a court case against the owner of the property that might have allowed them to stay.

The tenants have filed several post trial motions which are scheduled to be heard in May, but the eviction has moved forward anyway.

“It’s only two weeks away. I mean, if we have the right to be heard at a post trial hearing, why not wait two weeks to see that through?” Cottam said.

A representative of the owner was at the property Wednesday afternoon escorting residents in to collect their belongings, but he declined to be interviewed for this story.

Cottam says the occupants have been told the owner plans to tear down the warehouse and redevelop the site.

In the meantime, they are left scrambling to find somewhere else to live.

“I’m not sure what everybody is doing,” Cottam said. “Most of us are probably going crash on the couch or something tonight and then look for the next space.”

In addition to the post trial motions, the residents are also awaiting a decision by the San Francisco Rent Board on whether or not they qualify for rent control protection.

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