Mercury News: After a real-estate deal that triggered $1,000 rent hikes, Oakland families face eviction

Mercury News: After a real-estate deal that triggered $1,000 rent hikes, Oakland families face eviction
May 18, 2018 Peter
Rafael Luna, his sons Luis, 17, David, 18, and his wife Evelia, from left, walk their dogs Candy and Linda near their apartment on 34th Avenue in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. The long-term tenants were hit with a $1,150 rent increase and a threat of eviction after their building was sold to a Silicon Valley investor last fall. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)

With its crumbling popcorn ceilings, cracked tile and worn carpeting, the apartment Rafael Luna and Evelia Cruz have called home for nearly a decade has outlived its youthful prime by any measure but one: California’s rent control law. Though built in 1989, the family’s apartment in Oakland’s gentrifying Fruitvale neighborhood will forever be deemed “new construction” under the state law, making it immune from local rent control. So there was nothing the city could do about the $1,000-plus hikes that hit the Luna family and their neighbors as the complex of four apartments changed hands last year. For these families with modest means, the rent sought by a 32-year-old Silicon Valley investor all but guaranteed they would be forced out — not just from their apartments, but a city where the median rent for a 2-bedroom apartment is $2,750. “We love it here. We love Oakland,” Luna said. “It’s very hard because we don’t know what we’re going to do.”

 

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