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San Francisco Home Buyers Get Publicly Shamed For Evicting Tenants

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Battles between landlords and tenants are getting even nastier in San Francisco.

A popular tactic is to publicly shame landlords and home buyers who try to evict tenants.

If you've ever considered buying a house in San Francisco, you know the risk of buying one with a tenant already in it.

There are strict rules regarding rent increases and eviction and even if you want to move into the property yourself, you generally have to pay the tenants thousands to leave.

Well now, something else to think about before evicting a tenant: public shaming.

Housing rights protesters aren't targeting a San Francisco tech company nor are they necessarily blaming techies for the high cost of rent.

Instead, they're targeting a new homeowner, using an increasingly common tactic, to fight evictions.

One protester said they've been doing dozens of these protests around the city for the past five years.

Activist Christopher Cook says the goal is to persuade homeowners and landlords to let tenants stay in their homes.

One protestor said they're not doing it to shame the home buyer, but rather to encourage the new owners and others not to evict people.

At issue on Thursday, is the fight to protect a kindergarten teacher living in an illegal in-law unit attached to a single family home.

The evicted teacher said, "Where am I going to go in SF with my daughter and my dog?"

On one hand you have a single mother, who's lived here for years and can't afford to  pay current rent prices anywhere else on a San Francisco teacher's salary.

One lawyer said, "It's horrible for everyone involved."

On the other hand you have a working couple who, according to their lawyer, scraped and saved to buy their new home.

Their lawyer said they can't afford to bring the illegal unit up to code and that they can't even legally accept rent from the woman living in it.

The lawyer said, "They feel horrible. They would never put her in this situation or anybody else. They don't want to be involved in anything illegal or dangerous. But this is what they could afford."

Protesters  want home buyers to think twice before buying an occupied home.

One protester said "we need to keep our focus on the fact that a single mom is being evicted from her home."The protester said to home buyers should make sure that nobody is living in the unit they purchase.

A group representing small property owners points to an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 vacant by choice units in San Francisco.

They say there might be more available housing if the San Francisco Board of Supervisors eased up on the regulations that make it hard to be a landlord in the city.

It's estimated there are 30,000 illegal units in the city right now.

And with median rent prices reportedly more than $4,400 a month, it's unlikely many of the people living in them could afford to move.

But with the median housing price in the city, now at over $1 million, new home buyers simply don't have a lot of options.

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