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Bad Romance

Alameda City Attorney’s Office is working to ensure tenants’ rights.

Dakota has just moved into her new apartment. She’s come from another part of the island so she could be closer to her job. Her new landlord, Dale, is extremely nice. She notices almost immediately how attentive he is to her needs and concerns. Being new to the neighborhood, Dakota is appreciative that Dale has been so kind and welcoming to her.

A few days go by and Dakota is loving her new neighborhood, and excited to be closer to her workplace. She is even more excited to finish unpacking and decorating so she can invite her partner, Sarah, over for dinner. While unpacking she hears a knock at her door. She answers it to see Dale standing in front of her. Dale asks if she needs any help unpacking, to which Dakota declines. Dale still insists that she let him inside. He then reaches out and places his hand on her arm, saying “Come on, just let me in. I see the way you look at me.” Dakota immediately removes Dale’s hand, informs him that he has the wrong idea, and asks him to leave.

Alameda Post - enforcing tenants rights

The following day, Dale shows up again and makes more unwanted advances. Having had enough, Dakota calls the City Attorney’s Office for help.

Dale’s behavior here violates a few different laws pertaining to tenants’ rights. In the City of Alameda, harassment of tenants is strictly prohibited. This includes:

  • Abusing the landlord’s right of access into a tenant’s apartment;
  • Interfering with the tenant’s right to peace and quiet;
  • Violating the tenant’s right to privacy; and
  • Gender-based discrimination

After the City Attorney’s Office spoke with Dale about the law, his harassment of Dakota promptly stopped.

Owners are allowed to enter a tenant’s unit only in a few specific situations. They also must always provide their tenants with advance notice, at least 24 hours prior to the visit. And of course, any kind of harassment, whether unwanted advances or anything else, is off limits in the landlord-tenant relationship, the same as it would be for an employer.

If you have a question about tenants’ rights, the law or a complaint in the City of Alameda, contact us at 510-747-4775, or email [email protected]. The Alameda City Attorney’s Prosecution and Public Rights Unit enforces the law and educates the public on issues including tenants’ rights, workers’ rights, and consumer protection. We also provide mediation services in situations where both parties need help working things out.

(The names and facts have been changed, but this story is similar to cases we have handled.)

Rico Fenix is a paralegal with the Alameda City Attorney’s office. Contact them via [email protected].


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Alameda Post Inc. applied to the IRS for 501 (c)(3) non-profit status earlier this year. Members will be notified when the IRS sends a positive determination letter, making their membership or donation tax-deductible. Monthly members will receive their benefits after three months of membership. Memberships including tickets to history walking tours will be offered in limited quantities.