East Palo Alto tenants get eviction scare

Publication Date: Wednesday Feb 11, 1998

East Palo Alto tenants get eviction scare

Apartment tenants were told they couldn't come back

It's upsetting enough when flood waters pour through a person's apartment. But it's worse still when the apartment manager then tells the tenants that they are being evicted and won't be allowed to come back.

That's what the people living at 445 East O'Keefe St. in East Palo Alto say happened to them last week.

The flooding from nearby San Francisquito Creek inundated the first-floor apartments in the two-story, 55-unit apartment complex last Tuesday, forcing out the first-floor tenants and ruining many of their belongings. That same night, the apartment manager reportedly told tenants they would not be allowed to return to their apartments. Instead, they were told they would be evicted.

"It sounds pretty unfair to everybody," said Efrain Farias, one of the tenants. "Everyone was pretty upset that night."

East Palo Alto has a just-cause eviction ordinance, meaning that a property owner has to show cause why a tenant is being evicted.

Jeanne Merino of the East Palo Alto Community Law Project said any attempted evictions during such circumstances would be illegal.

"The landlord can tell you to move out temporarily to make repairs without losing your tenancy," Merino told more than a dozen tenants Saturday morning in a meeting at the apartment complex.

The eviction threat was apparently over by the end of the week, as the building's owner, William Rosetti, sent letters to all the tenants saying they would get new leases. Rosetti could not be reached for comment.

--Don Kazak

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