SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Evicted tenants and their advocates gathered in front of San Francisco’s Hall of Justice Wednesday to protest the Ellis Act and to file criminal complaints against landlords.

Protesters said the evictions amount to elder abuse and harassment. Tenant Attorney Anthony Prince said landlords scrambling to make a profit from the influx of high-paid workers are often evicting low-income seniors who can end up homeless and in other situations that can negatively impact their health.

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“It’s more than a civil offense. This amounts to a circumstance where there’s such disregard for the health and lives of these people that it amounts to a criminal citation and criminal sanctions,” Prince said.

Prince and about 30 other people filed criminal complaints in the District Attorney’s office. Among them was 63-year-old Ben Santiago who received an eviction notice in December.

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Santiago said he has been stressed and unable to sleep since he received the notice. He said he wanted to deliver a “speed bump” to this what he said seems like a tidal wave or “tsunami of speculators gobbling up the real estate.”

San Francisco’s District Attorney George Gascon said if there’s a violation that he will prosecute.

“We’re bound by the law. We look at every case of elder abuse or any case of abuse against anyone and we look at them very closely,” Gascon said.

 

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