The San Diego Sheriff's Department began to serve eviction notices this week to people who were facing eviction prior to the pandemic, but the move was paused last night after the department faced intense pressure from local officials.
Right now, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order placing a moratorium on evictions due to financial hardships because of the pandemic. That means landlords can’t evict tenants for nonpayment and local authorities can’t enforce evictions.
Keith Reid, a San Diego resident, said he was kicked out of his apartment at 100 Park Plaza downtown Thursday morning after receiving a notice to vacate earlier this week.
"I’m homeless. I hate to even say that because you know I'm basically living in my car," Reid said.
For years Reid has been working as an independent contractor for entertainment clients in Europe. Around January, he said he started losing clients because of the pandemic. He went to eight court appearances and was able to get extensions for his eviction, but then his luck ran out.
"There's a shelter in place policy right now…but you’re forcing people out on the street, it makes no sense to me, wheres the common sense in it?" he asked.
He thought the governor's order would save him from eviction, but with nowhere to turn he enlisted the help of the Legal Aid Society of San Diego. They documented Reid's financial hardship due to the pandemic and tried to appeal to the courts.
"What we would love is for them to be reincluded in the group that is being taken care of through the governor's executive order," said Greg Knoll from the Legal Aid Society of San Diego.
In a statement, the Sheriff’s Department said that while serving these evictions that were in place prior to the pandemic is perfectly legal, several elected officials contacted them about their concerns about the impact these evictions would have on people in the pandemic and that’s why they’ve decided to suspend them temporarily. Initially, the Sheriff's Department said they were looking to enforce the evictions because they had a responsibility to landlords who were dependent on the income they received from their tenants.
NBC 7 spoke to a manager at the Live Park 12 building at 100 Park Plaza about Reid's case, they sent the following statement:
“We offer relief programs to support residents of our community facing unexpected financial hardship due to COVID-19. This matter predates COVID-19 and was carried out in accordance with court orders.”-Jerry Brand, Park 12.