Couple fighting eviction from multi-million dollar San Francisco home

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A San Francisco couple is fighting an eviction. While that's a story you've heard before, the details in this case, make it unique. They live in a house that is the former Iranian consulate building in the Presidio Heights neighborhood.

Last year, business insider ranked Presidio Heights San Francisco's most expensive neighborhood, with a median sale price of nearly $4.5 million.

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In 2018 the government says the house needs $5-million worth of repairs which has to be covered by rent. But this couple was only paying about $5,500 a month to live here. So the government decided to take it off the market, which means they have to leave.

"It's evicting people that have lived there for 30 years and raised their kids there to leave it empty for what," asks Attorney Daniel Berko.

Berko is working to help Alexandra and Bruce stay in the home where they have lived for nearly 35 years and raised their kids. Now, in their 70's and 80's, they're facing eviction.

"This house needs a caretaker," says neighbor Luis Belmonte. "So instead of charging them rent they ought to be paying them to look after the place in my view."

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Belmonte doesn't understand why the government decided to take the property off the market and leave it empty.

"I thought that the state department had kind of gotten things out of kilter," Belmonte says. "There really isn't any particular reason that they do to free this house up. It's not like the Iranians are going to come back and open the consulate again."

We asked San Francisco Real Estate Agent Matt Morgus what the house could fetch.

"If it was all fixed up it could easily rent out for $25,000 or $30,000 per month," Morgus says. "Probably more than that."

The government gave the Owen's roughly $11,000 and asked them to leave by June of this year. But they haven't. And despite a lawsuit from the U.S. State Department, they have no plans to.

"My intention is that they are going to stay forever," says Berko.

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Berko says the only way they could be forcibly removed is if they lose this case.

Neighbors are concerned if the Owen's do have to leave, squatters may end up in the house instead.
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