The Landlord’s Side of the Story

no, these are not song titles from the new Guided By Voices album

Remember those wacky signs a tenant taped onto her windows alleging all sorts of abuse by her landlords?  Well, the landlord found out about the chatter and decided to offer his version of the situation:

Dear Friends – I was completely unaware of the existence of this blog. Just today someone told me about it, so with a great interest I read your entries. So… my wife and I are co-owners with another person of this building and, yes, we are invoking Ellis Act,  but only out of  sheer desperation – for the past a year-and-half we have lived through hell.

The woman who rents the downstairs unit (from our co-owner) and entertains the neighborhood with her prolific signage is an extremely aggressive and displays all the symptoms of delusional paranoia. Almost every morning we wake up to her banging on the walls (4-5 am), heavy stomping on the floors, yelling to us from the backyard, playing  blaringly loud music, etc. We find our front door handle smeared with honey, grease or peanut butter on a daily basis, not to mention the human feces on our door step. She makes false accusations that we destroy her plants, read her mail, throw stones at her cat and plenty of other mischief.

Despite the fact that we put lots of money and effort into creating a beautiful backyard, we  have stopped  even going outside into our backyard as she verbally assaults us, we can’t have any social life at our home  and we are subject to abusive accusations thrown at us when we take out trash, or simply leave home (she yells at us from her window). She fabricated a story of us being “professional evictors” who just want to get her out, so we can convert to condos. Her actions became so unbearable that back in December we moved from own place and rented a place for two months, just so we could get some rest from that daily abuse.

Ellis Act was the last resort. When we concluded that we can’t live under the same roof with this psychotic individual, we offered her a substantial amount of money, free rent for half a year and the house to herself (we would’ve stayed away until she moved). She turned that offer down. Ellis Act took off 10-15% off the value of the property right off the bat. We’ll never be able to convert to condominiums, but this is the worthy price for having a home where we don’t feel threatened all the time.

So, as you see a new crop of signs and accusations popping up in her window (almost daily occurrence) just think about what you might not see – a daily ordeal of people who live in the same house.

Wow, she sounds like the tenant from hell!  Now I kind of feel bad for the property owner.  Maybe this is the reason why those rental applications have gotten so tome-like and tedious to fill out, and why many landlords now routinely employ background checks along with credit reports and references. 

Soooo, anybody else got any terrible neighbor stories?

[Photo by Brian H]


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Author: Andrew Sarkarati

caution is the path to mediocrity. gliding, passionless mediocrity is all that most people think they can achieve.

34 thoughts on “The Landlord’s Side of the Story”

  1. Yes, many, but in our neighborhood they are owner neighbors. Its like with bikes versus cars. The bad ones stand out, but the lobby try’s to make it and us vs. them story, when actually its just a story about how jerks come in all shapes and sizes.

  2. Yeah, I had one of these crazy neighbors before. We both owned our houses and I had to take her to court to get a restraining order. Luckily, she was crazy in court so it was a no-brainer for the judge. Unluckily, she kept up the same shit three days later so we decided to sell our house and GTFO. I feel for the poor owners.

  3. Waiting for the reply from the tenants. On this blog, not in their window. The owners can do it — so can they. C’mon, or yr bitches.

    1. Cranky old guy, I might join forces with you. At least you are willing to hold your judgements and comments until you hear both sides. GOOD FOR YOU! as you can see I’ve written many replies here for you to decipher and will still keep up window reports for as long as necessary. Look for more news and coming attractions. For almost a year the windows have been one of my few ways to speak about this awful injustice which is going on all over the city. I’m so grateful for another forum to tell my story.

  4. Hmmm. If the tenant is harassing the LL, they should get a restraining order and evict for nuisance. You cannot use the Ellis Act to retaliate against tenants or pull a unit off the market in bad faith. The LL’s statement here says that they are in fact pulling it off the market to punish the tenant and not because they want to go out of business. Hope the LL has fun with the lawsuit they are about to get slapped with.

    1. There is no such thing as bad faith in Ellis Act evictions. You don’t have to have a reason to Ellis your building. You could evict because of asshole tenants or they could kick out good people because they don’t want to be landlords anymore. No lawsuits.

      1. You are wrong, when you Ellis you must sign a notarized statement saying its in good faith and not to evict a tenant!

    2. He’s not the landlord but the tic owner upstairs who bought Dec. 08. I have lived here 15 years as my real landlord put it at our rent board hearing “She’s a good tenant who always pays her rent on time.” They are just being mean and wouldn’t come to any agreements at community boards which I initiated. I am a protected tenant, if they can’t evict me the Ellis Act is the only way.

  5. Not a big fan of the restrictive property rights, …um…er tenant’s rights in SF. But I usually just grin and bear it, as the preponderance of sympathy in SF is with the characterization as tenant’s rights versus property rights. I could always move if I didn’t like the politics.

    Earlier posts misunderstood this Ellis Act eviction as a move toward creating a condo. It sounds like the owners have a tenant in common and a rental. A TIC is a shitty work-around to a condo but Franciscans are forced into it becuase, 1 they can’t afford a 3 flat building and 2 it is damn hard to go condo as it is controlled through limited lottery. So no this is not about going condo although the owners would be better off if it did. It may be about raising a rent controlled apartment to market rates. If that is the case I still don’t care. fuck rent control, any econ 1a class will demonstrate it’s a losing idea for both parties in the long run. You 20 somethings have a problem finding 1 a vacant pad and 2 one that is cheap? Thank the tenant’s rights folks in their 40’s and 50’s. They set themselves up at your expense. (Screw class war, let’s have an age war!)

  6. Go live somewhere that doesn’t have laws you don’t like instead of complaining. You could also be happy with your misery.

    1. The notion that you are entitled to live somewhere for as long as you please, when you do not own the property, is comical.

      The interesting upshot of all of this is that yet another rental unit (or two) will be taken off of the market because of all of this for 5 years, which further constricts supply, and raises rental prices for everyone else out there. Yay for the landlords out there, not so much for the folks who are looking to rent in SF.

      What I don’t understand, is when faced with the inevitability of the Ellis act being invoked, why not just take a payout and leave? You’re going to have to move regardless, why not get PAID before you go? Sure, the Ellis Act invocation means that the landlord takes a hit on their property value, but if they never sell, they never realize the loss. In the meantime, you’ve been evicted, and got nothing in return.

      Seems like a poor business decision to me, at least. If I were offered money to leave or the prospect of being evicted with no compensation …. call me crazy, I’d take the money and run.

      1. Most people like you do take the money and run, which encourages more property owners to use such tactics and harrass and abuse people {renters)to force them to move. This was not a business decision but a moral one where peoples abhorrant behavior will not be compromised for money. I plan on exposing these people in court for what they are and making sure they don’t continue their abusive behavior for profit. Next time, it could be your blind neighbor or elderly grandmother, They too, will just leave! So much for tenants rights….Sometimes, they just don’t exist.

      2. Also, I have received plenty of compensation in other ways. I will not be leaving with no money. Thanks for your concern but when people don’t follow rules, they pay big time!

      3. I find nothing comical about wanting to feel safe and secure in your home whether you own it or not. You are an idiot! Being homeless is not funny…… I never said I wanted to live here forever and I’m not sure how you made that assumption.

  7. The funny thing in all of this is the notion that doing what you wish (within the law) to do with YOUR OWN PROPERTY is somehow abusive. If they don’t want to rent it, because let’s be honest, on the surface the tenant looks like a real piece of work… that’s their right. There’s no abuse there, just someone acting within their rights.

    Also of interest is the fact that the property owners are willing to take a 6 figure hit to the value of their property (I’d guess between $100,000 and $200,000) just to be rid of this situation. Add in the loss of rental income for 5 full years, and that pushes that number even higher. If you look at the situation objectively from an outsider’s perspective (mine), the only logical conclusion that I can come to is that the tenant is such a pain in the ass that it’s worth $150,000ish to be rid of her.

    And finally, this isn’t a discussion about some vital civil rights matter, this is a matter about someone (a group of property owners, as all parties have to agree to invoke the Ellis Act in the TIC) wanting to live without some nut in their house, if you are to take the TIC owners at their word. From the dozens of signs I’ve seen on this property over the last year or so, it really does back that notion up quite well.

    The tenant says that the landlords are abusive. The landlords say the tenant is a nightmare. Let’s see… if the tenant was correct, the landlords would never go the Ellis Act route, because the only goal there is to get the tenant out without utterly destroying the property value and removing the ability to rent it. They are “professional evictors” after all, remember?

    Now, if the landlord is correct, and the tenant is a nightmare, all of this, including the commentary by the purported landlord and tenant all line up neatly into this scenario. Landlord is fed up with batshit insanity, tries for a long time to be rid of it, then finally throws their hands up in the air and goes the route of desperation and invokes the Ellis Act. Thereby destroying any hope of being able to rent out their property until mid 2015 at the earliest.

    Yeah, this is an easy one. Usually it is a case of jackass landlord trying to harass their tenants out. It’s amazingly amusing to see the script flipped, I really do feel bad for these TIC owners.

    1. Why feel sorry for the tic owners? They chose this situation. I don’t expect to live on someones property forever but I do expec to live in PEACE when I pay rent. The owner of the tic is a real estate investment specialist. They didn’t buy this for their home. It is my suspicion all along that they would do exactly what their doing. When they “left” for 2 months it was heaven for me! They made their bed and couldn’t lie in it! Fortunately they can afford to leave the mess they made!!!! They went to Half Moon Bay for the Mavericks!!!! The abuse put upon me by this couple no one would agree to. Yesterday, I finally got a temporary restraining order against the girl (after 2 previous tries) hopefully in court I will recieve a permanent one until the Ellis eviction in February and be able to live in some peace. My landlord never paid a penny for this building (he inherited it) and so has nothing to lose. This couple “fixed” the yard after digging up all my plants and killing them or moving them after I had taken care of the yard for over 15 years with no help. When I moved in both sides of the yard were piled with junk. Two truckloads were removed. These people aren’t what they are pretending to be. I believe the real estate guy does this constantly and another tenant is being abused on a daily basis as my son and I are. I am a disabled, elderly single mom of a teenager. Im sure we looked like excellent prey. They have misjudged me. THANKS FOR READING THE SIGNS

  8. Dude, I am a tenant and I totally agree with most of what Brian said here. All these supposed “tenant’s rights” laws just make the GOOD, not ASSHOLE landlords not want to rent their places anymore because there’s too much risk for them (assholes can always deal with more bullshit than nice people, imho) and that makes for a much more difficult and potentially shitty situation for the prospective tenant.

    I moved here 3 years ago and spent over a month looking for a place, not because my price range was super-low, but just because of ALL THE CRAP you have to go through to even apply for most apartments. I had money but not a monthly paycheck or 3-year work history. I was too young to have anything more than average credit. Etc. etc.

    I mean, once you have a place (our landlord is a SAINT and rented to us purely on the basis that we seemed “like good people”) it is pretty nice to know your rent won’t suddenly shoot up, but on the other hand, landlord have to be SO CAREFUL about who they rent to, that if you’re young or have anything questionable about ANY of your paperwork, you’re kind of fucked.

    I remember when one of my roommates moved out, and the landlord asked me to please be careful about who I took in to replace her. He basically said, don’t let them receive mail or in any other way document that they live in your place, because once they can do that, then they can’t be evicted. Not without a huge fight and lots of money.

    I mean, seriously–in San Francisco I’m pretty sure you could rent an apartment and immediately proceed to never ever pay your rent. You could live there for like a year for free, probably, before you got forced out, and probably paid to do so when you did have to leave.

    1. I’ve been here 15 years and have always paid my rent on time. It is now current and paid. If I were a bad tenant they could have evicted me. Don’t you get it? It’s O.K. I couldn’t believe it at first either. But now I am suing the couple, their attorney and my landlord. See court dates in the window and show up to really see what’s happening. I have already won a substantial amount from the rent board!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. This is the only way that they can evict you. Just because you pay your rent on time doesn’t mean you are entitled to stay there forever. There’s a reason it’s called “month to month” lease. Only in San Francisco does that mean “forever” for the tenant if they so choose.

        So by your logic, if someone gives you a car, it doesn’t matter if it gets stolen. I mean, you got the car for free, so there’s no loss for you, right?

        You certainly act the bad tenant, at least here. This horse is starting to turn to glue, and most everyone that reads this seems to get it.

        I’ll tell you what, when the court appearances have been sorted out, come back to this site, and post the results (and transcripts). Then, when you are looking for somewhere to live, and have managed to alienate your landlords and received nothing in return (including your deposit, which I’m guessing they’ll keep to cover court costs), tell us all how you feel vindicated.

        That’s how it’s going to end. No, I’m not psychic, and no, I’m not psycho. The problem here is that judges function on logic, rules, and laws… something that’s clearly missing from your side of things.

      2. you sound like an entitled bitch who just needs to fucking die and leave the rest of us alone already.

  9. If the Piotr is just an average guy who want to live in the place then where exactly is he going to live for six months that he claims he offer to be out of the building? Does he own another apartment in the city? If the tenant is harassing you, why haven’t you gotten her evicted for that behavior? There are so many holes in this story. Sounds like guy bought into a TIC and was assured that it would be easy to pay off the rental tenant and start making market rate rent and then the tenant actually knew her rights. Whether she is crazy or not doesn’t matter so long as she pays her rent and follows the terms of her lease.

  10. BRIAN Maybe in your excitement you forgot the building is already Ellised. There is only one conclusion. Being disabled I live here a year get paid and leave. You get so excited being vindictive.

  11. Actually, I found this part of the Ellis Act:

    “While there are restrictions on ever re-renting the units, there are no such restrictions on converting them to ownership units (e.g., tenancies in common or condos).” So I’m not sure why the original owner thinks they can no longer convert to condos. If anything that’s the REASON most Ellis Act actions occur.

  12. Wow, that’s intense. Talk about a lack of respect. It’s amazing how someone thinks they are in the right just because they manage to pay their (presumably) under market rent on time. That’s not being a good tenant, that’s just prolonging one’s own condition. This seems to be completely the instigation of a borderline psychopath who feels entitled to “harvest the fruits of the work of another”. I would guess the disabled guise is just an effort to leech off of the system, or else how do you explain the (supposed) 15 years of yard cleanup and gardening. If you are healthy enough to garden I would think you are not disabled.

    How much social services and tax money is she stealing? How much is this person costing our society? There is certainly glee and bragging about all of the money that she is taking away from the landlords. All of the aggravation, all of the legal fees, all of the costs and losses. Makes her really happy and accomplished.

    I am not a rich man, landlord or investor. I work for my living and people like that make me sad. This is pure and insidious evil. Users and abusers with no decency to respect the efforts of others looking what can be extorted and stolen.

    What a shame.

    It’s just too bad that at the end of it all, some other unsuspecting landlord will be used and abused by her.

  13. Considering the sheer consequences of the Ellis Act, I am siding with the owners here. I can’t see anyone being that drastic without a damn good reason.

  14. Ok, so let me get this straight. You believe that just by paying rent that makes you a good tenant and you “own” the property you are renting? Might I remind you there are many other factors that makes a good tenant besides simply paying the rent on time (this includes your behavior to your landlord and neighbours). I really do not believe that you are a good tenant based on your responses and actions so far.
    So even if hypothetically the landlord wishes to sell the property, might I remind you that you are merely a tenant renting, not the owner or landlord/s. You are borrowing space on their property, you do not own the property in any way whatsoever.


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