Ten tenants living in a home in San Francisco’s Excelsior district are facing eviction and possible life on the streets after their landlord skipped town without telling them that her home had been foreclosed on in 2014.
Liliana Villalpado and her family, which includes three teenage children and a grandchild of seven months, live in the two-bedroom home with another family—Bertha Pérez, her husband Pedro Gonzalez and their two children, six and nine years old.
Unkown to the families, the owner lost her home in 2014 but agreed to rent to the families through 2015 and 2016, collecting thousands of dollars in rent from them until her abrupt departure last month.
Now, DFI Funding, the private mortgage banker that owns the foreclosed home, is telling the families that they have until Sept. 10 to vacate the property.
“This has been so traumatizing for my children,” Villalpado told the Post/El Mundo. “They just started their first week of school, plus they work, and the uncertainty of whether they’re going to be homeless is affecting them so much.”
“My 17-year-old has a seven-month baby. They can’t go live on the street,” she said.
According to Diana Alonzo of Causa Justa: Just Cause, which is working on the families’ cases, Maria Sosa, the home’s previous landlord, had not disclosed to the families that her house had been foreclosed on in 2014.
Sosa fled her home the day before a locksmith came to change the locks and was surprised to find 10 people still living inside the house.
Liliana and Bertha were then served notices to vacate the building by the following day, having had no idea that their landlord had left town and was nowhere to be found.
“The hard part about it is that the lady did not disclose anything to the families and didn’t have the right to keep collecting rent from the two families, who paid a couple thousand dollars each month,” Alonzo said.
After launching an online petition and speaking to the sheriff’s department, Causa Justa and the two families were able to extend DFI Funding’s eviction deadline to Sept.10.
But the extension provides little relief to Liliana and Bertha who still have nowhere to go.
While the two families have already begun their housing search, they have had no success in securing a place to move on such short notice due the Bay Area’s saturated housing market.
While they have applied to several assistance housing sites, the waitlists for these places is generally two- to six-years long.
“If it was just us adults, we’d manage living on the street,” said Pedro Gonzalez. “But I’m doing this for my kids (who are six and nine). Now they live in fear. They wake up in the middle of the night to any sound thinking it’s the police coming to evict us.”
“It’s a living hell,” Villalpado said. “This didn’t happen to us because we weren’t paying rent or because we are bad people. We did everything right and paid more than our fair share.”
Stephen Anderson, president of DFI Funding, could not be reached to comment.
To learn more about how to support these two families, contact Diana Alonzo at firstname.lastname@example.org