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Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus and Plaintiffs Settle Tenant Protection Lawsuit

May 2, 2018 News

Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus and Plaintiffs Settle Tenant Protection Lawsuit

Oakland, CA – 14 tenants in Oakland’s Chinatown have secured victory and the right to live in their homes, free from landlord abuses. The tenants settled their lawsuit against building owner James Kilpatrick, and the property management company, GreenGroup LP. The lawsuit was filed to force the defendants to comply with housing laws, including the Tenant Protection Ordinance, and to restore shared bathroom and kitchen facilities in the building, which the owners and managers had demolished and left un-usable for roughly eight months. The settlement terms includes a $1 Million sum to be paid by the defendants to the 14 tenants and the City of Oakland, as well as a permanent injunction which will protect the tenants against any similar abusive actions in the future.

In June 2016, the tenants living in a single room occupancy (SRO) residential building at 524 8th Street banded together to file the lawsuit against their new landlord, who had recently purchased the building. SROs have historically been one of the few affordable housing options available in the city for low-income immigrant families. In this particular SRO, most of the tenants are Chinese immigrants, many of them seniors, and most are limited English proficient or monolingual Chinese speakers.

The lawsuit against the landlord, who purchased the SRO in Oakland’s Chinatown, alleged that the landlord tried to force the tenants out of their homes in order to develop the property to attract wealthier tenants. The tenants alleged that rather than using legal means, the landlord resorted to tactics such as demolishing shared bathroom and kitchen facilities and harassing the tenants.

“Unfortunately this situation is indicative of the housing crisis happening all over the Bay Area,” said Robert Salinas of Sundeen & Salinas. “All tenants have the right to have habitable and safe homes without living in fear of their landlords. I’m glad that these extremely vulnerable tenants will be able to remain with their community in Chinatown.”

With the assistance of Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus and the housing and civil rights firm of Sundeen & Salinas, the tenants filed suit against the landlord and managers for the unjust treatment. The case has been long and hard fought with important steps along the way, including the Alameda Superior Court order in August 2016 that required the landlords to repair the demolished facilities and stop tenant harassment.

“This resolution is a strike against all landlords seeking to profit without regard for human cost,” said Katherine Chu, Housing Rights Staff Attorney & Program Manager at Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus. “It’s important for landlords to know that there are consequences for disregarding housing and tenant protections laws and for everyone to see the real impact discrimination can have on tenants.”

“We are honored to stand by the Oakland Chinatown tenants for the courage they are showing in standing up for their rights,” said Aarti Kohli, Executive Director of Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus. “Their struggle for justice is emblematic of the fight for affordable housing for fixed and low income seniors and working families everywhere.”



Advancing Justice – ALC was founded in 1972 as the nation’s first legal and civil rights Asian American organization. Recognizing that social, economic, political and racial inequalities continue to exist in the United States, Advancing Justice – ALC is committed to the pursuit of equality and justice for all sectors of our society, with a specific focus directed toward addressing the needs of low-income, immigrant and underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Visit www.advancingjustice-alc.org.

Media Contact:

Christina So