Soaring rents, evictions, tenants rally in Oakland to close landlord loopholes in Just Cause protections

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

East Bay Times – By Tammerlin Drummond

OAKLAND — Josephine Hardy has lived in the same triplex in West Oakland for 45 years. Her two adult children and two grandchildren occupy the second and third units.

When the building sold in June, the new owner informed the 69-year-old woman that her rent would go up to $2500 — nearly triple the $900 she currently pays.  He also said he was moving in. That means he won’t have to pay the relocation expenses of whichever members of the Hardy family he displaces because the renter protection ballot measure passed last November exempts duplexes and triplexes.

On Tuesday, Hardy attended a rally in front of City Hall, where about 40 tenants rights groups and renters demanded that the city take action to close 10 loopholes in Oakland’s renter-protection laws. They said those gaps allow unscrupulous owners to hike rents and displace low- and middle-income tenants.

“We were living here when things were rough,” Hardy said, recalling the crack epidemic and the collapse of the Cypress freeway overpass during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. “Now that things have gotten good and smooth, it’s like they want to put us out. It’s not fair.”

The event was organized by a coalition of tenants rights groups, including Centro Legal de la Raza, Association of Californians for Community Empowerment, Causa Justa/Just Cause, East Bay Community Law Center, Eviction Defense Center, Oakland Warehouse Coalition, East Bay Asian Youth Center and JDW Tenants’ Association. Council members Rebecca Kaplan and Dan Kalb also attended.

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