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98-year-old-evicted, no place to to: Evictions rising over condo developments

Mary Philips, a 98-year-old woman evicted by her landlord after 50 years, has never missed her rent payment nor was she a problem tenant. Instead, the San Francisco resident received an eviction notice because a law on the books allows the owner to do so legally. According to a July 10 Opposing Views report, the owner of the apartment where the 98-year-old tenant is being evicted wants to sell to a condo developer.

A Sri Lankan elderly woman who faces eviction to make way for a proposed casino resort and apartment complex
Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

However, Phillips is not going without voicing her dismay with the sudden move. And it appears she has a legion of supporters to help her wage the battle to stay put. Evictions happen often, but when an "old lady" is kicked out of her decades-long home, a backlash ensues.

After news spread that a 98-year-old was evicted from her apartment home, a band of demonstrators gathered outside the offices of Urban Green Investments. Reportedly, it's the company mired in the controversy over the so-called Ellis Act. In 1986, the housing law went to effect. Essentially it gave property owners the right to evict tenants and convert the property to a sale and take the units off the market.

Protesters are outraged that landlords are choosing greed -- by a profit-driven real estate market -- over doing the right thing by their loyal tenants. Many suggest that because the law empowers owners to sell at their discretion, it doesn't bode well with the public when residents are evicted, especially a 98-year-old woman.

Mary, who has nowhere to go, agrees and says that she'd rather "kick the bucket" than to pack up at her age.

I've been very happy here. I've always paid my rent, I've never been late. I didn't sit down and cry. I just refused to believe it. They're going to have to take me out of here feet first. Just because of your age, don't let people push you around," the dejected woman said to Kron 4 about her apartment dilemma.

With the law on its side, the investment company has bought a number of buildings in the area, evicted those living there, and sold many of the units for a profit.

Meanwhile, Mary has armed herself with an attorney, who intends to petition the company to have a change of heart, at least for their client. In the past, many who've put up a public fight have prevailed. It's unknown if Phillips will be in that number, but locals are hoping for the best.

Stay tuned for more on the 98-year-old woman's eviction status.