A brand new report produced by tenants’ rights advocates paints a damning image of the injustices renters in Alameda County’s city included space face each day—all the things from damaged water heaters to rodents to unresponsive landlords.
One resident reported having her complete house flood with sewage water throughout a winter storm. One other mentioned flaking partitions and deteriorating carpet are worsening her kids’s bronchial asthma.
“We all know it’s dangerous, however it’s additionally getting worse,” mentioned Leo Esclamado, an organizer with My Eden Voice, a grassroots marketing campaign to unite the Eden Space–which is broadly outlined within the report because the communities of Ashland, Cherryland, Hayward Acres, and Castro Valley. “While you’re speaking about leaks for a bathroom or faucet, or rubbish, or lead paint, it’s nearly compounding when it comes to the well being dangers individuals already face in these unincorporated areas.”
In accordance with the report, greater than 50% of residents within the Eden Space are renters, and greater than 60 % are Black, Indigenous or individuals of colour. These communities additionally face a few of the highest poverty charges within the county.
The extremely city area has a inhabitants of roughly 150,000 individuals, bigger than the town of Berkeley. However not like Berkeley, residents of the Eden Space do not need complete renter’s protections and housing oversight.
In consequence, based on the report, residents are paying “never-before-seen costs for poorly maintained housing inventory.”
The report finds that one-third of renters within the Eden Space might be residing in housing that ought to be deemed legally uninhabitable. The survey, nevertheless, was primarily based on just some hundred responses. In accordance with Alameda County, there are over 10,000 renter households within the unincorporated space.
Nonetheless, Alameda County doesn’t dispute the considerations raised within the report.
“We’re conscious that the circumstances within the unincorporated space have been an ideal concern to the neighborhood,” mentioned Michelle Starratt, Alameda County’s housing director. “These are precisely the considerations we’ve heard.”
In accordance with Starratt, the county goes to be working its personal habitability survey within the subsequent few months, surveying each renters and house owners. She mentioned they’ve already created a grant program for landlords to make repairs, which has to this point been underutilized.
Within the report, the authors name for plenty of adjustments to deal with the challenges confronted by renters residing within the Eden Space. These adjustments embody lease stabilization, a rental registry that will implement tenant protections, and the creation of a proactive rental inspection program versus the present grievance primarily based mannequin.
“We ask that Alameda County decision-makers take pressing and concrete motion to deal with the wants of Eden renters,” the report reads.
A number of the adjustments are at present stalled earlier than the County Board of Supervisors.
In 2020, the county obtained a grant to review the event of tenant safety insurance policies for unincorporated areas. The County Housing and Neighborhood Improvement division in the end advisable a “phased strategy to implement tenant protections”, together with rental registry and simply trigger for eviction ordinances, in addition to potential lease stabilization down the street.
In accordance with the report, the primary batch of tenant safety ordinances initially handed in 2022, however have did not go on a second studying.
“It’s been encouraging to see extra municipalities throughout the East Bay adopting tenant protections, and it’s time for Alameda County to comply with go well with,” mentioned Sasha Perigo, the strategic communications supervisor at East Bay Housing Organizations, one of many authors of the report. “Renters within the unincorporated Eden Space deserve equal protections.”