Landlord Backs off Evicting Senior

Landlord Backs off Evicting Senior

An Alameda resident will retain access to his residence after the City Council passed new tenant protections for renters using government-aid vouchers to pay their rent. 

Musiy Rishin, 87, was notified Monday, Sept. 15, that Margaret Tam, his landlord at the Dunes Apartments at 2445 Shoreline Dr., ended her effort to evict him from his residence of more than 17 years. She dropped the effort after the passage of an urgency ordinance that added Section 8 protections to the city’s current rent ordinance at the Sept. 3 Council meeting. 

Ordinance 3244, adopted in June, eliminated “no cause” evictions and required landlords pay relocation fees to tenants moved out on “no fault” evictions i.e. to accommodate a landlord’s family member’s move in or to make residential improvements. However, the ordinance did not extend to residents using Section 8 vouchers. Previously, landlords were able to evict Section 8 qualifiers without cause and would not be required to pay relocation fees. After learning landlords had this ability, the Council quickly passed the urgency ordinance. The ordinance will extend the same “no cause” protections and relocation fee requirements to Section 8 qualifiers. 

The urgency ordinance went into effect after it was approved. After learning that she no longer could evict Rishin due to his Section 8 status, Tam dropped her effort at eviction. 

Rishin, who grew up in the Ukraine before escaping during the Nazi occupation in 1941, had been in a year-long residential dispute with Tam. Tam raised Rishin’s rent from $2,520 to $3,200 in August 2018. After he complained, she gave Rishin a 90-day notice to move out.

After receiving several evictions letters while caring for his terminally ill son, Rishin hired an attorney from the Oakland law firm Centro Legal de la Raza. Rishin’s eviction story appeared in the London-based news publication The Guardian in August. A rally was held to protest Rishin’s eviction last month (“Neighbors Rally to Help Renters,” Aug. 29).