Alameda, California tenants, including Filipinos, win eviction protections

/ 02:05 PM May 23, 2017
alameda tenants inquirer

Alameda, California renters just won protections from eviction. INQUIRER FILE

ALAMEDA, California – After a six-hour City Council meeting and testimonies from more than 45 speakers, Alameda tenants and tenant rights advocates including Filipino Americans, won “just cause” eviction protections and a complete ban on no-cause evictions across the city.

The amended ordinance cleared a first reading with a 3-2 vote. The second reading and final approval will come up June 6. The resolution includes a provision that protects tenants who have pending no-cause eviction notices at multiple properties, including residents at 470 Central Ave.

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“I feel more hopeful after speaking to the City Council about the harassment we have endured,” Rommel Laguardia, a tenant at 470 Central, said. “I shared the news of the vote to all my neighbors, and we were all in tears.”

Tenants at 470 Central Ave. have been fighting to remain in their homes since 2015 when real estate speculator Matt Sridhar began to evict all of them.  Sridhar’s most recent harassment tactics included hiring uniformed guards posing as police officers to deliver 60-day no-cause eviction notices at 10:30 p.m. May 3.

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Councilmembers called on the Alameda City Attorney to investigate the incident for criminal action. As a result of the vote, families at 470 Central Ave. will be able to stay in their homes. Other households with pending no-cause notices as of May 3 will also be able to stay.

A tenant from 1602 Sherman Ave., who was wrongfully evicted last January with improper notice and no relocation assistance as required by Ordinance 3148, will receive a formal review of her case.

“It was incredibly stressful to hear my three-year-old son say, ‘Mommy, why can’t we go home?’” the evicted tenant testified. “My landlord texted me every week asking when I would be out.”

A broad coalition of tenant advocates including Alameda Renters Coalition (ARC), Filipino Advocates for Justice, Alameda Progressives, Renewed Hope Housing Advocates, Alameda for Black Lives, and Buena Vista United Methodist Church, will continue to advocate for deeper tenant protections, including a cap on annual rent increases and market-rate relocation assistance.

“Without the dedication and the persistence of all these groups, especially the tenants most affected, this victory could not have been won.  It illustrates the power and commitment our communities have to fight for affordable housing.” says FAJ’s Youth Organizer Sammy Gutierrez.

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TAGS: Alameda City Attorney, Alameda for Black Lives, Alameda Progressives, Alameda Renters Coalition (ARC), Buena Vista United Methodist Church, Filipino Advocates for Justice, housing, Renewed Hope Housing Advocates, tenant evictions Alameda, tenant rights
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