The landlord of a nine-unit complex in the Tenderloin who in February gave Section 8 tenants notices of an intent to evict them has had a change of heart.
Ty Durekas, who purchased the 741 Ellis St. property in December, signed an agreement Wednesday afternoon allowing the remaining three tenants to stay until they can find new housing. Many of the complex residents are Section 8 tenants, those who receive vouchers for rent subsidies from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and have lived there as long as a dozen years.
"I'm not putting them under any pressure to move," Durekas told The San Francisco Examiner. "I always intended to have these people transition smoothly from their current housing to new housing."
In February, Durekas served 90-day notices to the residents as required in order to evict Section 8 tenants. The building was constructed after 1979, so it does not fall under rent control or just-cause eviction protections. Durekas said he began working with tenants on their transition even before a protest in late April by the Housing Rights Committee of San Francisco demanding that he back off from evicting the tenants, who are mostly Vietnamese and Chinese families.
The landlord said he plans to hire Vietnamese- and Cantonese-speaking Realtors to approach other landlords to help the tenants find housing. In addition, Durekas said he plans to pay for the tenants' security deposits and first month of rent because many landlords are hesitant to take Section 8 applicants due to potential wait times associated with the housing authority.
"I probably didn't fully understand all of the stress that this would generate for everybody, so I'm actually happy that I figured out a reasonable solution," he said.
Sarah Sherburn-Zimmer, a housing organizer for the housing-rights committee who helped facilitate the agreement, was glad to see Durekas "do the right thing."
"I am so excited that he is going to let these families stay," she said. "We need more of this."