Warehouse Residents Ask Rent Board to Block Eviction


The residents of an unpermitted warehouse on the 900 block of Peralta in the southeast corner of Bernal near the Alemany Farmer’s Market are taking their effort to avoid eviction to the San Francisco Rent Board.

As you may recall, the wake of the Oakland “Ghost Ship” fire, San Francisco has issued an abatement order for current tenants to vacate the property because it is not permitted for residential use. Meanwhile, the property owner seeks to build 49 new apartments on the site.

The San Francisco Examiner writes:

The artists were served with an eviction notice from the warehouse on Peralta Avenue after a fire killed three dozen people in December at an artist collective in Oakland called the Ghost Ship. They have since refused to leave their space and filed a petition with the Rent Board in January, asking for greater protections from eviction under the rent control ordinance of 1979.

The decision could bolster the tenants’ argument in San Francisco Superior Court, where they are fighting an unlawful detainer case for staying at the warehouse.

“San Francisco is an important city of culture,” said Nathan Cottam, a warehouse tenant. “The arts must be subsidized in some way or they will disappear. There are many different types of subsidies. This is just one of them.”

The Rent Board heard their argument for more than six hours Thursday, according to Executive Director Robert Miller. He said the board has to decide whether the landlord rented the space for commercial or residential use.

The Examiner adds that the Rent Board is expected to issue a decision on the matter within six to eight months.

4 thoughts on “Warehouse Residents Ask Rent Board to Block Eviction

  1. Rent bored (sic) to make a decision in 6-8 months. Gotta love their efficiency. Landlord btw cannot collect rent once a UD is filed. So he’s screwed out of rent for a good year at least imo.

  2. SF, Oakland, and other communities were willing to look the other way about people living in illegal spaces, and in fact, SF created the “live/work” hybrid a generation ago to help accommodate people who were living in commercial spaces that did not meet the requirement for residential housing (such as improper flooring, no natural light in sleeping areas, shared bathrooms, etc.) All this was well and good because no problems had happened. And then the Ghost Ship fire killed 36 people in a matter of minutes. Frankly, I don’t blame the cities for coming down against people living in unsuitable places. If these cities neglect to enforce the laws then they’re going to be liable should something as tragic happen again. Is it unfair? No, it’s not. Artists and crafts people should be grateful that the cities had allowed them to exist in non-permitted spaces for such a long time, and they should get their acts together and move into spaces that are up to code. The cities did them favors, but after Ghost Ship they simply can’t do this anymore. A new era has dawned, and it’s simply not going to go back to the way it was. My friend, Snook, operates NIMBY in Oakland. He makes it very clear that NIMBYSpace does not allow residence, not even sleepovers, because the place is full of toxic chemicals that shouldn’t be breathed, etc. Oh, people get on his case about this, but he’s quite right: commercial/industrial spaces are simply not suitable for living!

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