2 Emery Lane

The eviction notices signed by a vice president at Paragon Real Estate and served to two dozen families living in a single-room-occupancy hotel at 2 Emery Lane in Chinatown are being withdrawn.  And according the Mayor’s Office, the owners of the building have pledged not to issue any new eviction notices for “the foreseeable future.”

The owners of the hotel purchased the 32-unit building for $2.72 million in November 2013 and have been accused of attempting to intimidate the tenants which came with the building into vacating their units in order to re-rent their rooms to “professionals” for $1,300.  The current tenants pay closer to $550 per room per month.

The eviction notices were based on violations such as tenants “making messes in the bathrooms” and hanging laundry outside their windows.

And while the owners had previously refused to withdraw the eviction notices despite complaints, noting that “everything we have done has been within our right per [the leases] and health and building code regulations,” the City will now be proving legal defense to the tenants at 2 Emery Lane, which might have had a little something to do with the owners’ sudden change of heart.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by EcceMorons

    My tax dollars are going to pay tenants’ legal fees? When there are lots of lawyers who LOVE to give “free” legal advice to tenants, knowing they can do a landlord shakedown eventually and get their 33% commission.

    Let’s be fair – if SF City government is going to provide free legal representation to tenants, it must also provide free legal representation to landlords. Equal treatment under the law and all that….

    • Posted by Sam

      You clearly have a solid grasp on the equal protection clause.

      • Posted by 4th gen SF'er

        Sam! Hello! I’m on the fence about providing legal stuff to tenants. I see both sides.

      • Posted by EcceMorons

        Sam, you clearly have a solid grasp on “equal treatment”.

  2. Posted by San FronziScheme

    There was a reason for that cheap cheap price. Tenants put Ed Lee in his seat. He is going to fight for them.

    Like EcceMorons, I am appalled by the partisan position of City Hall. Rose Pak has been working the phones again.

  3. Posted by Conifer

    The recent buyers of this building knew very well what they were getting. These are not Mom & Pop with their three flats bought in 1970. Rent control is horrible, but the buyer bought rent control.

    • Posted by San FronziScheme

      Yes, and they’d better have a lot of funds and patience. This is going be 50% emotion, 30% legal and 20% politics.

      It will take years to get what they want and I hope they do, just for the sale of seeing owner’s rights being respected.

      • Posted by Orland

        It should be City policy to defeat their every effort “to get what they want.”

    • Posted by EcceMorons

      True, these buyers definitely bought knowing full well what they were buying. It’s all factored into the price, unlike when owners get new rules foisted upon them after they buy.

      So there’s no sympathy due them – but if they have an ounce of sense, they’ll Ellis the building immediately. That’s probably their Plan B, after that VERY clumsy attempt to evict based on sloppy bathrooms.

      • Posted by Medalist

        SRO units are exempt from Ellis.

      • Posted by Medalist

        A Three Day Notice to Perform Covenants or Quit is a LLs last resort to enforce lease violations. I don’t think this LL intended on filing unlawful detainers based on these notices but had served them to put some teeth on their requests for the lease to be adhered to. Now, these notices mean nothing as the City had intervened and basicly told the trnants the LL has no power.

  4. Posted by Jackson

    San FronziScheme is correct in his analysis of Ed Lee protecting his future voters, and status quo politicians, as being the reason the City is providing legal representation. Pander to your base, in other words.

    Very similar to the recent proposal of David Campos, allowing 16 year olds to vote in City elections, in order to overcome voter gentrification in the Mission.

    • Posted by 4th gen SF'er

      lol, that is the truth.

  5. Posted by Hitman

    #1 Rule in SF Politics: Don’t mess with Rose Pak

    • Posted by Amewsed

      Rose Pak isn’t going to live forever especially if she hasn’t been to the nephrologist lately.

  6. Posted by BayviewSF

    “the City will now be proving legal defense to the tenants at 2 Emery Lane”, this is illegal. How can the city provide legal defense for the tenants against their landlord? Tenants and landlord are equally citizens, how can the city favor one party over the other party?

    Can the landlord sue the city government for unequal treatment?

    • Posted by Amewsed

      I would certainly make the argument. Supervisor Jane Kim was subpoenaed recently for putting forth specific targeted legislation against a particular property owner under the guise of “protecting the city’s rent control units.”

  7. Posted by SFR

    The new owners knew full what they were buying. Their actions to apparently intimidate the tenants out of the building was greedy and despicable even if it was not completely illegal. I support the city helping the tenants here and I am a landlord myself.

  8. Posted by sfanto

    I wonder… if this might have a little something to do with the same group’s microapartment project on Market St getting Continuanced yesterday.

  9. Posted by 4th gen SF'er

    “The eviction notices were based on violations such as tenants “making messes in the bathrooms” and hanging laundry outside their windows.”

    Neither of those things should be occuring in an SRO, people should be cleaning or else you can get evicted. Hanging your laundry outside your window can be a violation too, as well as entire families living in SROs. Honestly, I imagine most of these people came from China when it was under Mao, they’d probably get a better deal moving back to China, jmho. China has changed a lot, and there are people moving TO China now.

    • Posted by Zig

      LOL Mao ruled until 1974. Pretty sure none of them came to the U.S. under Mao

    • Posted by Amewsed

      Have you ever heard of the phrase, “if you can’t make it there, you can’t make it anywhere.” These folks are bottom feeders in China and can’t compete in a country that shared the same language and culture which is why they moved to the U.S. They are finding out they can’t make it here either.

    • Posted by Chris

      What’s with the bizarre phobia about air drying laundry? do we need to cook our clothes as well as the planet?

      • Posted by 4th gen SF'er

        Depends on what your view is of this vintage photo. There are people in SF who still dry their clothes on clotheslines outside – drying inside is a no no because of mold issues. Here’s a vintage photo

        • Posted by Amewsed

          Yikes. All the more reason to curb its use. This practice is limited to the urban poor neighborhoods. Don’t see it happening in Pacific Heights, Marina, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Noe Valley, or the Mission.

          I really don’t care to look at your husband, wife, grandmother, and children’s underwear.

        • Posted by soccermom

          Drying clothes outside is de rigeur in Hong Kong, the Guangzhou province, and other places where people maintain a semblance of a price-behavior relationship to their utility bills. It doesn’t work very well in humid environments, but dryers are essentially utility suckers, suckers.

          • Posted by Amewsed

            The places you mentioned all have high humidity compared to SF. De rigeur is overstating it. Older neighborhoods with older buildings. If price behavior relationship was important, how do you explain the prevalence of the use of air conditioning in Hong Kong and Guangzhou? The bulk of the electricity bills is for the AC use, and most rooms have individual units, not central AC.

  10. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    I don’t know how anybody can possibly look at a building in Chinatown from the outside and not figure out that there are “messes” in the bathrooms inside. As for the laundry, it hangs in most windows, albeit usually inside. I’ve got zero respect for what these owners are trying to do, but unless the free city-provided legal advice is provided under a well-defined program available to all citizens, then it’s an outrage. Not surprising, though.

  11. Posted by Amewsed

    100 sq. ft. for a family of three or more? Isn’t it a code violation and a fire hazard? Red-tag the building and get the residents out. Take your sweet time (3-4 yrs.) renovating the building “to code.” Airbnb the units for several years while your decide the highest and best use for the building.

    • Posted by BayviewSF

      Is there a overcrowding regulation? When I read stories of 15 people in one apartment, I was wondering why the city or landlord can not enforce a maximum occupancy limit?

    • Posted by Orland

      Recipe for greed.

    • Posted by 4th Gen SFer

      Didn’t the board under Matt Gonzalez repeal the occupancy requirement saying it was racist or something? Trying to remember…anyone remember?

      • Posted by Amewsed

        I don’t remember this but Matt Gonzalez went to Stanford Law School?! What a waste of a prestigious education! To answer your question, if the occupancy limits were repealed, the the City should bear the burden of compensating the personal injury/wrongful death lawsuits when there is a fire. The compensatory funds should come out of the city employees’ pension fund.

        • Posted by 4th gen SF'er

          Yes, completely agree with everything you said. And yes his education was wasted.

  12. Posted by DrElefun

    Apparently, no one sees the elephant in the room that justifies why the tenants are being championed by Mayor Lee, and are getting special treatment.

    “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”

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