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SF judge delays 100-year-old woman's eviction yet again

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11th hour bid nets 11th deferment

It’s San Francisco’s strangest eviction fight, and it’s still not over. Indeed, it sometimes seems that the case of 100-year-old Page Street resident Iris Canada will never end. Which is perhaps a good thing for her supporters, since Canada’s expulsion from the apartment she’s lived in for half a century was of late the most likely outcome.

A month and a half ago a state judge ruled that Canada had to go. But a series of delays and deferrals have kept her between the walls of 670 Page since then, including a new one (the 11th) handed down on Tuesday. It doesn’t amount to much: Just an extra week for Canada’s lawyer to come up with a new plan. But it does extend the drama yet again.

It’s hardly surprising that, despite her having lost in court, nobody is too keen to oust the centenarian. Indeed, even the attorney for the evicting party, Mark Chernev, tells Curbed SF his clients will allow Canada to remain in her home for the rest of her life if she’ll simply agree to sign off on their plans to renovate the rest of the building.

The entire affair is frankly a mess. Canada’s lifetime tenancy agreement is supposed to grant her indefinite rights to live in her longtime home. She’s technically a co-owner in the building. But owner Peter Owens insists that Canada actually moved out of the place in 2012, voiding the agreement.

In emails to Curbed SF, Owens continues to insist that Canada is not a renter, his action is not an eviction, and that Canada is not even a San Francisco resident. Canada’s attorney Dennis Zaragosa has never responded to our attempts to contact him, but Canada’s niece and stepdaughter have denied Owens’ allegations wholesale.

Tempers have flared over the case, and the National Renters Association recently held a rally for Canada. The courts ruled for Owens back in April, but allowed Canada to stay in her home anyway. Only to then heave her again when her opponent’s legal fees landed on her.

Now she’s back in, at least for the time being. Perhaps never before has one resident been so often pilloried by the extremes of ouster and permanent residency. Increasingly, it appears that Canada’s options are limited. But it also looks like nobody really wants to be the one to bring down the final gavel on her just yet.