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100-year-old facing eviction wins one-week reprieve

A 100-year-old woman facing eviction from her apartment in San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood after a lengthy legal battle has been granted a one-week stay of eviction, an attorney said Wednesday.

Iris Canada, who has been fighting to stay in her apartment at 670 Page St., where she has lived since the 1950s, was hospitalized Tuesday shortly after learning of an eviction notice.

The notice warned she would lose access to her home Wednesday, according to family members and tenants advocates who have been supporting her case.

However attorney Dennis Zaragoza, who is representing Canada in her legal battle, said he obtained a one-week stay of eviction later that same day. He expects to seek a further stay next week pending the outcome of an appeal he has filed of a judge’s ruling ordering Canada to pay more than $150,000 in attorneys’ fees.

Canada’s dispute with property owners Peter Owens, Stephen Owens and Carolyne Radishe dates back to 2005, when all tenants in the six-unit building were served with Ellis Act evictions and five other units were sold as tenancies-in-common.

With the help of an attorney, Canada won a settlement granting her a lifetime estate allowing her to stay for the rest of her life for $700 a month.

However, after Canada declined to sign papers that would allow the building to convert to condominiums, the property owners moved to terminate her lifetime estate in 2014, alleging that she had been living with family members since 2012 and had neglected the apartment for so long that the utilities were shut off and it became uninhabitable.

The court found in the landlords’ favor in April, terminating the lifetime estate, but ruled that Canada could stay in her apartment if she accepted strict limits on her occupancy and paid the property owners’ attorney’s fees.

Family members could not be reached today for an update on Canada’s condition. Tommi Avicolli Mecca, an organizer for the Housing Rights Committee, said he understood she remained hospitalized today.

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