Property owners can get away with large rent increases in rent controlled-units even when tenants have evidence that the hikes are illegal.
… “Instead of feeling like we were protected by the Rent Adjustment Program, it really felt like the Landlord Protection Program…”
On July 31, 2014, tenants of 1565 Madison Street, a 66-unit building near Lake Merritt, learned that their monthly rents would increase by $106.97. A group of residents in the building which is protected by the city’s rent control law quickly organized and formally contested the increases with the city, arguing that the owners, First Class Lodi LLC, were violating multiple laws with the steep hike.
Last month, a hearing officer with Oakland’s Rent Adjustment Board, the agency responsible for enforcing the city’s rent control ordinance, ruled that $53.47, half of the proposed increase, was not justified a partial victory for the tenants who filed complaints. But more than two-dozen residents in the building will continue to have to pay the full $107 monthly rent increase, according to James Vann, who assisted some of the tenants and is a co-founder of the Oakland Tenants Union. That’s because, in Oakland, when a landlord unlawfully raises rents throughout an entire building, the burden falls to each tenant to write a formal petition and present his or her case in a hearing.
Read the article: How Oakland Landlords Prevail in Rent Disputes | East Bay Express