If you're going to disrupt where we live, we're going to disrupt where you work. That seemed to be the message of protesters gathered outside the Bryant Street office of film company Mubi yesterday, which Mission Local reports employs the man evicting a San Francisco school teacher living in an illegal in-law unit recently purchased by him and his partner.
After purchasing the Mission District building, Mathieu Verbeeck and Catherine Crevels reportedly gave its tenant of eight years just three days to vacate. The reason for the eviction? Teacher Michelle Malliet and her daughter were allegedly causing a nuisance by using appliances.
“This is a new attempt to evict tenants by saying that just by living in an illegal unit and using appliances there, the tenant is creating ‘a nuisance,’” explained Malliet’s lawyer, Joseph Tobener.
“Where am I going to go in SF with my daughter and my dog?” Malliet wondered aloud while being interviewed by CBS 5.
A lawyer for Verbeeck and Crevels told the channel that it is the homeowners who deserve our sympathy. “They feel horrible," he explained. "They would never put her in this situation or anybody else. They don’t want to be involved in anything illegal or dangerous."
Malliet, for her part, fears that she will be forced to move out of the city as she will not be able to afford current market-rate rent on a teacher's salary. However, she told the Examiner that she has not yet given up. “I was born and raised here,” she said. “I’m not going to be pushed out. I’ll go out fighting.”
The protesters seem to hope that Verbeeck's employer might pressure him to drop the eviction. “We are not blaming Mubi for this eviction," explained protester Christopher Cook to Mission Local. "We are saying, ‘talk with your VP of product development and tell him that you don’t like this attention on your company.’ ”
Interestingly, Supervisor David Campos has moved to give teachers special protection from owner move-in evictions. However, those rules would likely not apply in this case, as it does appear that Verbeeck and Crevel are trying to move into the in-law.
With CBS 5 estimating that there are 30,000 illegal units in San Francisco, this will likely not be the first time we see this type of eviction going forward. Nor will it likely be the last time we see these types of protests.