It might be one of the most bizarre sounding eviction cases in San Francisco history: A state judge orders 100-year-old Iris Canada out of her home at 670 Page. And yet, she technically owns part of the building, and a previous ruling granted her the right to stay back in April. The reason: Her inability to pay her opponent’s legal fees.
Canada has been a resident of Page Street since shortly after World War II, and of this particular circa 1907 building for half a century. In 2005, Canada received a lifetime lease, making her the effective owner of the unit (to the tune of $700/month), which would then transfer back to the landlords upon her death. She was 89 at the time.
That seemingly happy ending turned sour when Canada later declined to get on board with plans to convert the building into condos. The conflict went to court, and a judge ruled that Canada could stay in her home. The catch: She was ordered to cover her opponents' $160,000 court fees.
Why in the world would she have to do that? Because she actually lost that April case. The judge's decision allowed her to stay in spite of the loss as a grace to Canada's circumstances. But because the legal proceedings were expensive and because the landlords were ultimately victorious, the ruling made her right to remain contingent on economic restitution.
Plaintiff’s attorney Mark Chernev tells Curbed SF that his clients are willing to let Canada stay if she will agree to the condo conversion.
"All she wants is a home for the rest of her life, and we'll give that to her," says Chernev.
Canada's attorneys have not yet responded to our request for a comment.
In the past, building owners Carolyn Radisch and Stephen Owens have claimed that Canada actually moved out of the building in 2012 and that her lifetime lease is no longer valid. Canada insists that her absences from home were merely hospital stays and visits to relatives. With the case decided against her, Canada may have to move out as soon as next week.
- Judge Orders 100 Year Old Woman’s Eviction [KTVU]
- 99 Year Old Can Stay, May Have To Pay 100K [SF Weekly]
- Woman Facing Eviction Can Stay, If She Pays Legal Fees [SFist]