On Monday, March 2, the tenants of 901 Jefferson Street in Oakland voted to form a tenant association to fight skyrocketing rent increases proposed by their new landlord, Berkshire Group. Nearly 60 tenants attended the first meeting, and they were joined by Casey Farmer from Oakland City Council President Lynette McElhaney’s office and organizers from Tenants Together Aimee Inglis and Executive Director Dean Preston.
Berkshire Group, a $5.7B private national real estate conglomerate, purchased 901 Jefferson at the end of December 2014. The new landlord stated in January 2015 their intention to raise rents and carve out added fees to services previously included in existing tenants rents.
The first increase notices were sent in February 2015 and the proposed increases were much higher than previously indicated, egregiously high - up to 120% for existing tenants. The tenants decided to take action and not be bullied into being displaced or paying extreme new rents.
Keep an eye on these brave 901 neighbors as they help pave the way for others in Oakland who are experiencing similar pressures.