Dozens of Renters Lose Homes as City Closes 1919 Market Street Warehouse in Oakland

Oakland Building Department appears to be displacing tenant instead of citing landlords

The building’s closure is forcing dozens of residents onto the street, including some who say they have nowhere to go.

Residents of the sprawling two-story warehouse at 1919 Market Street in West Oakland were given orders to vacate the property today by City of Oakland building inspectors who have determined it is unsafe for habitation. Residents have until 11:59 p.m. on January 31 to vacate the property. The building’s closure is forcing dozens of residents onto the street, including some who say they have nowhere to go…

The building’s numerous code violations, some of them serious, became the subject of controversy last year after one of the building’s residents, Will Urbina, began posting Youtube.com videos of water leaking through the roof, tangled electrical wires, and other problems. An article in the April 15, 2015 edition of the Express highlighted these problems, and the city subsequently sent building inspectors to examine the warehouse. According to current residents, all the bad publicity was the beginning of the end…

According to several building residents, Haber held meetings last November in the parking lot of 1919 Market to inform them that the city was going to make them all to move out, but that his company would provide them with relocation assistance.

Some of the remaining residents have been skeptical of Haber’s offers, however, because last year another company run by Haber, The Negev, was sued in San Francisco over alleged wrongful evictions to push out rent-controlled tenants and use their apartments for tech bunk houses. Haber did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the situation at 1919 Market Street…

Source: Dozens of Renters Lose Homes as City Closes 1919 Market Street Warehouse in Oakland

A comment from a citizens who is fighting back:
I have been going through a similar process that resulted in combating the building department and filing a claim against my landlord. In my situation, I believe that Oakland Building Department was directly responsible for my displacement and, as can be seen in this case, they have no regard for the people who’s lives they ruin at this building. Instead of applying the correct pressure on the landlord, they are uprooting the tenants. My self and another friend going through similar circumstances are planning on filing a claim against the city for the departments part in exacerbating our situations. If any party in this building is interested we would welcome you joining our claim. Jonathan P.

Enforcement or lack of enforcement is a sticky issue that is often the prime reason for displacement. There is supposed to be a separation of powers to protect citizens. But we are fast losing any separation or any protections for individual rights. The courts are our last resort. Good for the people who can and do fight those battles.

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