Claudia’s Story

Claudia’s* landlord responded to her pleas for repairs with an eviction notice


When Claudia first visited Open Door Legal, her in-law, section eight housing unit appeared to have leapt straight out of a horror novel: no heat, mold in the bathroom, a perennially clogged toilet, a malfunctioning refrigerator, and, of course, an unresponsive landlord.


It is safe to say that this was an unsuitable environment for a mother and her five children. Time and time again the landlord was notified, both verbally and in writing, of these issues with the unit, and time and time again Claudia’s pleas for help were ignored. The landlord even went so far as to disregard a citation by the city’s Department of Building Inspection.

The landlord was first notified of the building’s unsatisfactory condition approximately two years ago, both by Claudia and by the city of San Francisco. In fact, the landlord’s decision to ignore the city’s request to repair the handrails along the staircases resulted in Claudia’s injury and a subsequent need for x-rays. The landlord was also mandated to fix the leaking refrigerator, stove- top, and water damage on the front entryway in Claudia’s unit. All of these issues aside from the handrails were unresolved. Furthermore, Claudia’s family was provided with inconsistent access to hot water simply because the noise caused by the heating unit disturbed the landlord.

 “Claudia’s family was provided with inconsistent access to hot water simply because the noise caused by the heating unit disturbed the landlord”

Claudia’s mail, which stated her expected portion of the rent, was also seized by her landlord and used a means to overcharge. After summing her overcharges, Claudia is owed almost $10,000 by her landlord, an incredible amount given that it only covers two years worth of rent. To put a cap on this negligence, Claudia received an invalid eviction notice from her landlord for which he then failed to provide evidence of misconduct.

Claudia’s immaculate ability to keep records of the transactions at hand and the diligent work of Alissa de Vogel, a housing attorney here at Open Door Legal, resulted in a phenomenal win for Claudia and her children. The eviction notices against Claudia were dropped due to insufficient evidence. Claudia and her children are currently looking to relocate, a feat that would not have been possible without the help of Open Door Legal.

This story was written by volunteer Jasmine Ayala, April 2016.


*The name and photos have been changed to protect the client’s identity.