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EBALDC is soon to go smoke free in its residential rental buildings
by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
Wednesday Mar 27th, 2019 9:04 PM
Regardless of the pros and cons of smoking, or not smoking in EBALDC’s residential buildings in Oakland. Or the threats of eviction that may come in the form of a change in the terms of a lease that bans smoking in one of EBALDC’s rental properties, renters in Oakland who are covered (protected) by Oakland’s Just Cause eviction protection ordinance can refuse to sign, and do not have to sign a new lease that materially changes the terms of their existing lease!
EBALDC is soon to go smoke free in its residential rental buildings

By Lynda Carson - March 27, 2019

Oakland - On Wednesday, March 27, 2019, or sooner, the low-income renters in the residential buildings of the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) received threatening notices dated March 25, 2019, declaring that the residential buildings they reside in are getting ready to go smoke free.

According to the threatening notices, EBALDC is about to declare that their residential buildings are smoke free communities. According to the notice, “A smoke free community is one where smoking, vaping, is not allowed anywhere inside of the building. No one may smoke within 25 feet of any building on grounds. You may smoke in the community’s designated smoking area. The terms “smoking” is defined as inhaling, burning or carrying any lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe, or tobacco/cannabis product or other type of inhaled substance in any manner or any form. This includes water pipes and hookahs.”

Smoking in any area where it is not allowed will be treated as a lease violation. Tenants in EBALDC’s residential properties are generally threatened with eviction for violations of the terms of their lease agreement.

EBALDC has hundreds of low-income tenants in their buildings residing in the cities of Oakland, Richmond and San Pablo. Many of the tenants in EBALDC’s properties are long time smokers who are totally addicted to the toxic tobacco products created by the tobacco industry.

To the non-smokers in EBALDC’s rental properties this may be very good news to help protect them from the secondhand smoke coming into their apartments from the careless smokers who smoke in the hallways and common areas of the building, or the entranceway, or in front of the building near the entranceway, or near a tenant’s open windows. All too often renters are exposed to the smell of marijuana or tobacco products coming into their apartments.

Just try to imagine being an elderly non-smoker who repeatedly gets stoned in their bathroom because the exhaust fan in the bathroom pulls in the secondhand marijuana smoke from their neighbor’s apartment. Or try to imagine the dilemma that non-smokers may find themselves in when someone comes by to inspect their apartment and smells marijuana in their apartment.

Oakland’s Just Cause Eviction Protection Ordinance:

Regardless of the pros and cons of smoking, or not smoking in EBALDC’s residential buildings in Oakland. Or the threats of eviction that may come in the form of a change in the terms of a lease that bans smoking in one of EBALDC’s rental properties, renters in Oakland who are covered (protected) by Oakland’s Just Cause eviction protection ordinance can refuse to sign, and do not have to sign a new lease that materially changes the terms of their existing lease.

That’s right! EBALDC cannot evict the tenants in their buildings who refuse to sign a new lease that materially changes the terms of a tenant’s existing lease/contract. And EBALDC cannot force a tenant to sign a new lease that is materially different than the tenant’s existing lease.

According to the website from Just Cause, Causa Justa, in the rules section it states, “Sometimes landlords try to change the terms of the tenancy at the end of a month or a lease period. For example, they may want you to pay your own utilities, get rid of a pet, take responsibility for more maintenance work in the unit, or sign a year-long lease when you’ve always rented month-to-month before.

As long as you’re covered under the Just Cause Ordinance, the landlord is not allowed to do this. So if a landlord gives you a new lease or rental agreement that is different from the old one, you can refuse to sign it without risking eviction. If you don’t sign a new lease, the tenancy becomes month-to-month, and the rules stay the same as under the last lease.”

Tenants who are not covered by the Just Cause eviction protection ordinance in Oakland are renters who reside in owner-occupied buildings of 3 units or less, and units built after 1983.

EBALDC’s rental properties are HUD subsidized rental properties with Housing Choice Voucher tenants (Section 8 tenants) in many of its rental properties. Unfortunately, all across the nation public housing and Section 8 tenants are already facing eviction and homelessness for medical marijuana use in the buildings they reside in.

In the notice dated March 25, 2019, that EBALDC passed out to the low-income tenants in its properties, there is not any mention of an exception for the tenants using medical marijuana.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com

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