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The Case of the Bernal Heights Rent Increase Heads to Court

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Last spring, the ugly rent dispute between tenant Deb Follingstad and landlord Nadia Lama roiled through San Francisco like a minor earthquake. Now, San Francisco magazine's website is reporting that the dispute could be about to play out in court since Follingstad (an acupuncturist and onetime Airbnb host) has filed a wrongful eviction suit against Lama (who inherited the property from her father and is accused of trying to dance around the city's Rent Ordinance by drastically increasing her tenant's rent by 315 percent).

You probably remember the details: After inheriting the property, Lama legally (but shockingly) increased Follingstad's rent from $2,145 to $8,900; she also raised the security deposit from $1,500 to $12,500. According to San Francisco's online article, the lawsuit filed by Follingstad's attorneys last week says that this stratospheric increase was effectively an eviction, and therefore a violation of the city's rules, which would provide Follingstad with a $9,258.67 relocation fund.

The drama has been rife with mudslinging and backlash on both sides. News of the rent increase prompted a community backlash against Lama and her family; and she was accused of everything from not fixing dangerous conditions in the unit to avoiding the restrictions of rent control by removing an illegal unit in the lower level of the two-residence building. The tables were somewhat turned when it was revealed that Follingstad was occasionally renting out her unit on Airbnb for profit. In other words, attorneys on both sides have had a lot to say. We could be hearing even more from them if and when the dispute plays out in court.

In the meantime, Follingstad has used a series of temporary housing and pet sitting arrangements for housing. She says in the San Francisco article: "I'm probably one of the most well-housed homeless people you'll ever meet."

· Everything You Need to Know About the Dispute Over the 315% Rent Hike in Bernal [Curbed SF]
· Longtime Rent-Control Tenant Shocked to Discover $6,700 Rent Hike Is Totally Legal [Curbed SF]
· San Francisco Tenant Who Faced $6,755 Rent Hike Sues Landlord for Wrongful Eviction [San Francisco]