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Sep 19, 23

TANC Mobilizes 100 Tenants to Disrupt Berkeley Landlords’ Obscene Eviction Celebration

Report from Tenant and Neighborhood Councils (TANC) about a recent mobilization against an attempt by landlords to celebrate the end of pandemic-era eviction restrictions.

On Tuesday, September 12th, TANC mobilized more than 100 tenants to disrupt Berkeley landlords’ obscene celebration of eviction.

With less than a day’s notice, our members rallied with banners and signs outside Freehouse Pub, where the Berkeley Property Owners Association hoped to celebrate the end of local pandemic-era eviction restrictions. We later carried into the party a cake decorated with the words, “Hey landlords! Get a real job!” and chanted, among other things, “Eat the cake.”

As widely reported, BPOA members were quick to anger, attacking tenants unprovoked. We stand with our members who were assaulted by landlords, just as we stand with any tenant facing eviction.

We are not surprised by BPOA’s behavior. The landlords’ cocktail party was a celebration of the violent process of eviction. This is why TANC intervened.

As a Bay Area-wide tenant union building power through tenant organizing, we are preparing for a long-haul fight. If you have issues with your landlord, join the union and organize with your neighbors!

The Bay Area’s double crises of extreme rent profiteering and homelessness come from the landlords’ business model. Landlords are structurally invested in skyrocketing rents, extracting money from working-class people under threat of eviction. Real-estate capital’s unchecked profits have corroded the Bay Area’s culture and life. It must be stopped.

We reject the notion that landlords have a right to a return on their investment. Rents should be immediately rolled back regardless of how this impacts landlords’ balance sheets. Tenants deserve a high quality of life, dignity in our housing, and a life free from landlord exploitation and harassment.

By disrupting the Berkeley landlord group’s cruel party, we have proved that tenants aren’t passive. Tenants will fight back! We call on tenants across the Bay Area to join the tenant union. We will beat back the forces of gentrification together. The union makes us strong!

Evictions spike as politicians lift ‘moratorium’

COVID cases are ramping up in the East Bay this summer, yet the pandemic-era eviction restrictions misleadingly known as the “moratorium” are ending all across Alameda County.

These restrictions started during the mass tenant militancy of 2020, dramatically changing our organizing terrain, including the viability of the rent strike. To stabilize tenant-landlord relations, politicians then implemented the massive landlord bailout known as “rent relief.”

While the restrictions lasted longer in the East Bay than most of the country, politicians are now bending to the will of landlords and actively facilitating the resumption of mass eviction.

After county restrictions lapsed, evictions skyrocketed to more than 500 in May, followed by more than 700 in June — more than twice the monthly average pre-pandemic. Now, with restrictions ending in Oakland and Berkeley, the number is expected to continue climbing.

What this means is landlords and landlord lawyers and landlord associations are preparing their legal notices and scary letters in the hopes of pressuring tenants to self-evict. A little rights knowledge goes a long way for tenants facing these threats. While it is important to respond promptly and formally to initial notices, know that eviction is a long legal process.

Don’t move, fight! If you think you’re facing eviction, talk rights and organizing with your Local.

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We are a group of Bay Area tenants who are fed up with rising rents, evictions, and harassment at the hands of landlords. We are fed up with our neighbors having no option but to live unsheltered and at constant risk of police harassment. We want to stop landlords, developers, and cops from looting our communities.

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