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Tenants to City: Expand the Moratorium, Ban Evictions!

by Tenant and Neighborhood Councils (TANC)
Eviction notice? Back rent? Know your rights, and how to use them.
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Oakland, CA — Tenant and Neighborhood Councils to host an Eviction Moratorium Town Hall, at the Main Library in downtown Oakland (125 14th Street), Sunday, April 2, 2pm, with food, rights and organizing information, and a flyering stroll to counter recent landlord mobilizations.

*Alameda County plans to resume processing evictions for non-payment of rent May 1

*Oakland, Berkeley officials aim to reinstate “just cause” evictions September 1

*Tenants who applied for "rent relief" cannot be evicted for back rent incurred during the pandemic before May 1, though landlords are likely to pursue debt in small claims court

Landlords often pressure tenants to self-evict using intimidating letters and other invalid, illegal forms of coercion. The eviction process is long and arduous, and requires landlords to properly serve various legal notices. If you believe you are facing eviction — Don’t move, fight!

*Join TANC for rights and organizing advice from tenant peers

*Contact legal clinics Eviction Defense Center, East Bay Community Law Center, Causa Justa/Just Cause, Centro Legal de la Raza

Expand the Moratorium, Ban Evictions!

Occasionally a politician feels emboldened to plainly express some of the noxious bile embedded in the heart of the state. Recently it was Nate Miley, Alameda County supervisor, in a message to the landlords frothing for eviction: “I don’t think human rights trump property rights.”

Miley added something evenhanded, and then joined with colleagues in accommodating the landlords. As the county officials allow pandemic-era eviction restrictions to lapse come April 29, they also rejected a package of tenant protections, and cut existing funding for tenant legal aid.

The supervisors proceeded with these actions — fully restoring landlord power and at the same time slashing tenant resources — knowing full well that the lapse of regional eviction restrictions elsewhere, including the rest of the nine-county Bay Area, precipitated severe eviction spikes.

A few weeks later, landlords with the East Bay Rental Housing Association (EBRHA), regional affiliate of the National Apartment Association, rallied with mayoral washout Loren Taylor and anti-homeless vigilante Seneca Scott at Oakland City Council, pushing the same agenda.

EBRHA board members Chris Moore, a startup executive whose firm assists landlords in exploiting Trump-era gentrification programs; and Luke Blacklidge, a Walnut Creek landlord and speculator, predictably wheezed about the mythical mom-and-pop as they clamored for eviction.

It was obscene: Bay Area landlords, definitionally rich in assets, with tailor-made loopholes in the so-called “moratoriums” already at their disposal, who haven’t even finished collecting the bailout money laundered as “rent relief,” claiming exploitation by tenants and government alike.

Days later, councilmembers Nikki Fortunato-Bas and Dan Kalb introduced legislation, drafted with EBRHA’s input, to end Oakland limitations on evictions and rent hikes. The draft legislation is scheduled for hearing April 11 at the Community and Economic Development Committee.

Statewide, an estimated 600,000 people owe $2.1 billion in back rent. In Alameda County, some 32,900 households owe $125 million in back rent. To the landlords and politicos, these figures represent debt, money owed sooner or later under penalty of home invasion by county sheriffs.

To us, in the anticapitalist wing of the tenant movement, the figures are more complicated. Rent names a relationship between tenants and landlords. It arose historically, and it persists only owing to a power imbalance between the people with and without control over our housing.

The eviction moratoria, however laden with loopholes, limited landlords’ most fundamental means of coercing the extraction of rent. It was a breach in a relationship that’s normally so naturalized as to seem like common sense, a part of life with no beginning or end in sight.

To us, then, the debt figures show tenants remaining in our homes regardless of our willingness or ability to continue paying fealty to the deed-holders — precisely the horizon of our struggle.

For that reason, as our focus remains base-building, or developing the power to pressure landlords directly, we say the pandemic-era breach of the rent relation shouldn’t narrow or simply remain, it should widen. No to all evictions, yes to a real eviction moratorium.

***

The Tenant and Neighborhood Councils (TANC) is an autonomous tenant union with hundreds of members, dozens of affiliated councils and several neighborhood-based locals. The member-run organization stands against the capitalist housing system and aims to stop landlords, developers and police from continuing to loot and exploit our communities.
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by Sam
How long do people want free rent?

It is ridiculous such an eviction ban was written without remedy for real estate investors. Now many mom and pop investors will sell their property in Alameda County and move out.

Less rental units would mean more homelessness.

If people can’t pay rent surely they can’t pay mortgage, tax and maintenance! What are they going to do?
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