Every Renter's Worst Nightmare Just Came True For This Woman

We all know that San Francisco's housing market is insane, but we have a horror story that's about to make your jaws drop: A local landlord has raised the rent on her tenant's two-bedroom Bernal Heights pad from $2,145 to $8,900. But, wait. That's not it. Then, she tagged on a security deposit of over $12,000. And, the most disturbing part? Apparently, it's all totally legal. 

The tenant, 46-year-old Deb Follingstand, has lived in the rent-controlled apartment for a little over a decade now. When she posted a scan of the legal notice from her landlord on Facebook, it quickly went viral. Her story sparked interest for obvious reasons; mainly everyone was curious how something like this was allowed to happen — and if it could happen to them.

Curbed SF did some digging into the legalities of the situation, and what happened to Folllingstad is known as "constructive eviction." Basically, her landlord exploited a scary loophole that allows a building owner to force a tenant out with an insane rent hike — and sidesteps the $5,000 relocation payment which is required by the Ellis Act.

So, what are the odds of something like this happening to you? We spoke to the Housing Rights Committee of S.F. to find out. "It's not unusual at all to see something like this happen," says director of counseling Tommi Avicolli Mecca.

"Landlords are pulling everything they can right now to get people out and hike price," Mecca says. "Educate yourself. Call counseling lines and get advice, learn your rights. You don't have to just accept what you are told. Tenants fight and win all time. It's not unheard of. Bringing situations like this to the public eye is so important. It gets it closer to city hall and to possibly closing loopholes like this."  

Hopefully, Follingstand's brave move to go public with this will implement some change in the crisis. Until then, anyone looking for a roommate? 
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