Nice Work If You Can Get It: 'Tenant From Hell' John Getzow Stiffs Another Landlord

Getzow's photo on LinkedIn.com

Last year, we ran a cover story on the strange and terrible life of one “Dr.” John Getzow, who may or may not have some manner of medical degree, but definitely had been sued by seven of his previous landlords. Getzow made a career of sorts out of living in nice San Francisco digs while paying little or no rent and collecting eviction notices like other folks amass baseball cards. Last month we noted that Landlord No. 8 had filed suit against him.

This month Getzow and the owner of the Balmoral Hotel Residence Club reached a settlement. The landlords made a deal with the serial evictee: If he got the hell off the premises by June 1, they'd drop all charges and, in essence, let him walk off owing $4,500 in unpaid rent and fines. This came to pass — and the landlords were thrilled to have gotten rid of Getzow so easily and cheaply; by the time they started litigating they'd read SF Weekly's cover story and knew who they were dealing with.  

“He wore a suit to the settlement conference and was very polite — he'd obviously done this before and knew the system well,” said Susan Parkinson, who represented building owner James Lee. “We didn't let him go very long. I notice a lot of the other landlords let him go a long time without paying rent.”