The Prosecution and Public Rights Unit of the Alameda City Attorney’s Office has reached a settlement with an Alameda landlord to successfully resolve claims that the City’s tenant harassment laws had been violated.
In February 2022, the Unit received a complaint from a tenant family living at 2222 Lincoln Avenue, a multi-unit residential rental property in Alameda. After the City’s investigation confirmed violations of law, the City Attorney’s Office filed an enforcement action against the landlord in Alameda County Superior Court. The action charged that the landlord illegally entered the tenant’s apartment multiple times, and that the landlord illegally harassed the tenant, including pressuring them to vacate and having their cars wrongfully towed.
City Prosecutors and the landlord, with input from the tenants, have now reached an out-of-court settlement of the enforcement action. Under this agreement, the tenant family receives $47,000 in the form of a cash payment plus credit for unpaid rent. The City receives $23,000 for civil penalties and its costs and fees. The tenants have agreed to vacate the apartment.
City of Alameda local laws prohibit landlords from harassing their tenants, including:
- Entering a tenant’s unit without permission or notice, except under very narrow situations such as emergencies.
- Pressuring a tenant to vacate through intimidation or coercion.
- Interfering with a tenant’s right to privacy and quiet use of their residence.
Under local law, landlords do have a lawful way to persuade their tenant to vacate. It is called a “buyout.” In this situation, the landlord pays the tenant money in exchange for giving up their tenancy. Buyouts must be voluntary, and must follow detailed rules—including special notices, with everything in writing, filed with the City’s Rent Program. Using tenant harassment tactics to oust a tenant violates local law.
“The City of Alameda has a strong policy of protecting and preserving affordable housing in our community,” said City Attorney Yibin Shen. “Our office is committed to justly enforcing state and local fair housing laws and ensuring that Alameda remains a place that people from all backgrounds can call home.”
The Prosecution and Public Rights Unit, in collaboration with the Rent Program, educates the public and enforces the laws governing fair housing and consumer protection in our community. If you have questions or would like to report an issue, contact the Prosecution Unit (call 510-747-4772 or email [email protected]) or the Rent Program (call 510-747-7520 or email [email protected]).