A shady situation has come to light at a three-story apartment building at 3150-3154 26th Street where about 16 to 20 tenants are facing eviction amid what appears to be an ill-conceived plot by the landlord and building manager to get rid of them all. As Mission Local reports, about 50 people gathered Wednesday to protest the unfair evictions — some of which were delivered by text message — and to draw attention to their case, which is an unusual but not unheard-of one.

As the tenants tell it, none of them have had proper leases with the landlord, Thomas Aquilina, and despite some of them living there as many as 30 years, they've all just been subtenants of property manager German Maldonado. They've had rental agreements with Maldonado and say they can all prove that they've paid rent in recent months, however the landlord has claimed non-payment of rent, meaning that Maldonado may have been holding onto their money.

According to the tenants and the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, Maldonado and Aquilina have reached an agreement allowing Maldonado to stay in his unit, while removing everyone else.

As IndyBay reports, no proper eviction notices have been served, and some were just informed by phone or text message that they would have to be out of the building by 5 p.m. on September 2. No direct contact between the landlord and tenants has taken place, rather the landlord seems to have been using an intermediary — another property manager from next door in a building Aquilina also owns. They say they were told by Maldonado, when eviction notices briefly appeared around the building, that he was taking care of the problem.

Tenants also accuse Maldonado of various other activities, including entering their units without permission, and, in one case, roofie-ing a female tenant.

So far they do not have legal representation, but none of the way this was handled sounds legal in the first place, so it's not likely anyone will be forced to move anytime soon.

The organization Eviction Free San Francisco says that cases like this, of landlords hiding behind property managers and slyly concocted fault evictions, are on the rise just as other evictions are. They're asking that people show support for the tenants by calling Maldonado directly at 415-850-4778, and the landlord at 415-665-4714.

There's more about both men here, via Anti-Eviction Map.

[Mission Local]