Future Rent Increases Will Harm Tenants

To Whom It May Concern: My first complaint is the provision that landlords be allowed to “bank” rent increases during the pandemic (by the Alameda Housing Authority/ City of Alameda). This is unconscionable. Alameda tenants have been protected from rent increases by the Local State of Emergency but will then be slammed with rent increases that include the “banked” amounts 60 days after it ends.

Please help us to have this provision rescinded.

Next, I won a rent reduction plea against my landlords in 2020 due to five years of suffering lack of heat and mold (along with my fellow tenants). However, I haven’t been successful in requesting the landlords be audited by the City for discriminatory rent increases in this property. This was made apparent when I, an enrolled member of the Muscogee Nation, and an African American tenant were informed by a Caucasian neighbor that he hadn’t received a rent increase “in 20 years” after we, two people of color, had multiple increases over a five-year period.

I am also seeking to sue the landlords for the retaliation I have been suffering since I won the rent reduction in 2020, as well as the theft of my Social Security number (which was used to submit a false 1099MISC to the IRS claiming that the rent reduction was wages; the IRS disallowed it since it was repayment of overpaid rent as above). The resident manager and other property employees have been illegally entering our apartments and our mailboxes for years; they likely have every tenant’s Social Security number.

Any assistance that you can provide will be deeply appreciated. I am in my 70s, recovering from brain surgery. If I didn’t receive food benefits, I would be forced to move as my rent already takes over 71% of my fixed income. I don’t think I am alone in my deep worry concerning what the landlords will be allowed to do in the city of Alameda even in so-called rent-controlled properties. There has been some discussion that landlords will be allowed to raise our rents to pay for the cost of capital improvements for their properties in the future (draft is attached).

Many, perhaps most, of my fellow tenants in this property do not have English as their first language, have modest educations and are very likely unaware of what their rights might be vis a vis housing.
Thank you,

— Cheryl Kettell

Editor’s Note: The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter. Cheryl Kettell lives in Alameda.