Tenant battles eviction after nearly 40 years in San Francisco home

SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — The daughter of an 81-year-old woman who died in April while under threat of eviction is fighting to remain in the family’s San Francisco home of nearly 40 years.

The attorney for landlord Tariq Hilaly, the CEO of healthcare tech startup Lumity, says Hilaly’s elderly parents want to move in. But supporters of the family say this is a ploy so Hilaly can get the tenant out and sell
the building.

“I’m assuming he wants to convert the building to condos or tenancy-in-common units and sell it,” said Leslie Dreyer, an anti-eviction organizer for San Francisco’s Housing Rights Committee.

The late Beatriz Allen moved into the Noe Valley flat with her husband and her daughter, Betty Rose Allen, in 1978. Now only Betty remains, and the threat of eviction hangs over her head.

“I’m really feeling Mama’s loss as Mother’s Day approaches,” Allen said Friday, two days before Mother’s Day. The 58-year-old substitute teacher said she is not only grieving her mother, but worrying about losing her home.

“I’m fighting to stay here. I would like to get back to teaching and put together a new life,” Allen said. She was a substitute teacher in San Francisco for years, but had to put the work aside to care for her mother, who suffered a series of strokes.

At present, Allen has been granted a grieving period ending July 9 in which to consider a possible settlement, according to Allen’s attorney, Raquel Fox of San Francisco’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic.

Raquel Fox of San Francisco’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic.

The Allens’ struggle is a dramatic example of issues arising in San Francisco as housing prices skyrocket.

“Longtime rent-controlled units are likely occupied by seniors who have lived there for years. These units are most vulnerable to speculation because they have the lowest rent,” and evicting the tenants clears the way for a lucrative sale, Dreyer said.

Tariq Hilaly bought the property along with his wife and parents in 2014. The property consists of two buildings on the same lot.

The Hilalys first filed an eviction notice in March 2016, saying that they intended to occupy the Allens’ unit. The Allens were given 60 days to leave.

However, the Hilalys then rescinded that notice and in its place served the Allens with an Ellis Act eviction notice. Under the provisions of the Ellis Act, the Allens then were entitled to one year of occupancy from
the date the notice was filed.

As the 2017 eviction deadline approached, the 81-year-old woman’s health worsened.

On April 28, Mark Chernev, an attorney for the Hilalys, told the Allens’ lawyer that the owners would agree to let the 81-year-old woman remain in her home until her death if Betty Rose Allen agreed that she would
voluntarily move out after her mother died.

Beatriz Allen died two days later.

“Beatriz could have lived there for the rest of her life, and we offered Betty Rose a generous grieving period in exchange for agreeing to voluntarily surrender at some certain date” and move out, Chernev said.

“Tariq and his wife, and Nasar, his father, and Naseem, his mother, bought the property in 2014 with the intention of all living together as a family,” Chernev said. “They are not speculators.””Nasar is 77 years old and Naseem is 74 years old,” Chernev said.

“Nasar is 77 years old and Naseem is 74 years old,” Chernev said. “They have a right to live in this house they purchased. They aren’t getting any younger.”

Chernev’s firm, Zacks, Freedman & Patterson, also represented the property owners who evicted Iris Canada, a 100-year-old woman, from her apartment in San Francisco’s Western Addition in February. Canada died in March.

Allen discussed her plight with a daily newspaper, the Guardian.

When the article appeared Wednesday, Chernev contacted Allen’s attorney, Raquel Fox of Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Fox said.

“Please advise your client that if she uses the extension to fuel a media campaign rather than for the purpose it was offered, the owners will have no choice but to revisit their decision to hold off,” Chernev said in an
email, according to Fox.”

I did not say we are going to immediately evict anybody. I said the owners didn’t grant this extension to become victims of a media campaign,” Chernev said in response.

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