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Tenant leaders hold bootcamps to crack down on “gotcha evictions”

San Francisco — Following a report showing a disturbing new trend in evictions, the San Francisco Tenants Union and statewide tenant advocate Dean Preston are launching a new renters rights project to fight back. Known as Tenant Rights Bootcamps, these workshops, which will be held weekly starting May 6, are a neighborhood-by-neighborhood effort to educate renters and prevent displacement.

“Landlords are shamelessly using new ‘gotcha’ violations – like having a roommate, hanging laundry, or carrying a bicycle through a common hallway – as an excuse to kick people out of their homes,” Preston said. “That’s why we’re going to the neighborhood level to train neighbors before landlords try to take advantage of tenants over trumped up or petty violations.”

A report published last month shows that over the past five years, the top two leading causes of evictions are minor lease violations and so-called “nuisance” allegations. “In these cases, the landlords aren’t really concerned about the alleged violations,” said Preston. “They are just saying ‘gotcha,’ using anything they can to evict tenants.” (Read the San Francisco Anti-Displacement Coalition’s report, here:

“You shouldn’t lose your home over getting a kitten, throwing a party, or some other technicality,” said Scott Weaver, spokesperson for the San Francisco Tenants Union. “That’s why, for the first time citywide, we’re bringing tenant education directly to renters where they live.”

The Tenant Rights Bootcamps will feature a know-your-rights presentation, followed by an opportunity for renters to ask questions and get referrals if they need more help. The key to successfully fighting back against a “gotcha” eviction, Preston said, is to get help early with a tenant counselor or attorney, which the bootcamps will seek to facilitate.

The “bootcamp” name is a deliberate foil to the Rent Control Boot Camps, which San Francisco eviction attorneys have been holding since 2013 to instruct landlords how to kick out long-term tenants. “In the face of bogus eviction notices, people need to learn how to fight back,” Preston said.

The first Tenant Rights Bootcamp will be held at Club Waziema (543 Divisadero Street) at 7pm on Wednesday, May 6. The workshops will continue throughout the summer in neighborhoods throughout District 5, and will expand to District 8 and District 9 in the fall. For a full schedule and more information, visit


Thanks to Dean Preston for an awesome service to our city, and to Kyle Smeallie for this press release!

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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

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