Martin* had been living in his unit in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco since 1999. In 2002, he started to have serious habitability problems in his unit – infestation of rodents, cockroaches and insects, mold covering the entire apartment, broken appliances, inadequate heat, and a landlord who was unresponsive to his constant requests for repairs.
As a senior citizen on a limited income Martin was forced to stay in the unit because he could not afford to move. He came to the Justice & Diversity Center’s Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) for help. A law student summer intern filed a petition with the San Francisco Rent Board under the supervision of a HAP supervising attorney and a hearing was subsequently scheduled. By the time of the hearing, a new company had purchased the building and they were open to negotiations to make Martin’s apartment habitable again.
A deal was negotiated whereby the new management company was to make all needed repairs within two weeks – which included a complete renovation of the unit – and the client did not have to pay rent for eight months in consideration for the years he suffered in the inhabitable unit.
For more information about HAP’s work, visit www.sfbar.org/HAP.
*The client’s name has been changed.