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Oakland City Council Moves To End Multiplex Evictions

by Susie Steimle and Abigail Sterling

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – Just days after a KPIX 5 undercover investigation exposed realtors in Oakland coaching buyers on how to evict tenants, city lawmakers are taking action to close the legal loophole renters are falling through.

69-year-old Josephine Hardy and her late husband moved into the West Oakland triplex they rent back in 1971.

Three generations of the Hardy family have lived there, including her granddaughter, Raynette Nottie.

Now all of them are facing eviction.

"I've actually lived in the same address for 47 years," said Hardy. "What are we really doing as a society? Where are we really taking this?"

Hardy brought Nottie with her when she appeared before the Oakland City Council Thursday, imploring lawmakers to put a provision on the November ballot that would make it harder for landlords to evict tenants like them.

Right now, anyone can buy a duplex or triplex, move into one unit and legally kick out everyone living in the building.

A KPIX 5 investigative report broadcast earlier this week exposed realtors openly coaching people on how to turn eviction into a business model.

City Councilmember Dan Kalb is championing a November ballot measure that would get rid of what's become known as the duplex loophole.

"When your commodity are other human beings, then they need to be protected. That's what we're trying to do for our renters"

He says he tried to push for something similar a few years ago, but it didn't work.

"It did not have the support of the council to move that forward. But now we're seeing more problems and your investigative report shows what that problem is," said Kalb.

This ballot measure might be too little too late for the Hardy family.

"I don't feel like the city is moving quick enough," said Nottie.

Hardy's son Khalif was evicted a few months ago by the owner of the building. He now lives in Sacramento.

"I miss my son. That's my oldest son. He misses his family," said Hardy.

She has to leave the building by July 10. Nottie and her mother are set to be out by August 10.

But they plan to keep fighting to keep the family together and prevent others in Oakland from being torn apart.

"This is not the end. This is like the middle. This is middle ground and we have a chance now to come together in the middle," said Hardy.

If you are wondering why the Oakland City Council doesn't just take immediate action, that's because there's a provision ensuring all just cause eviction laws must be voted on by the general public. The measure is up for public comment in another hearing on July 17.

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