Residents of Menlo Hotel ordered to vacate

January 13, 2011 7:49:34 PM PST
Bed bugs. Rodents. Useless fire alarms. Broken elevators. Those are just some of the problems the tenants of the Menlo Hotel in Oakland have had to live with. Now they are being told it's time to move out and many have nowhere else to go.

Residents of the 98-unit, single-room occupancy hotel are scrambling to find a place to live before Saturday's deadline to move off the property. Many of the tenants are mentally ill and nearly all are low-income, received a notice to vacate the property two weeks before Christmas. They were told to be out by Jan. 15.

"What are my options? It's the lesser of two evils. It's live here or be out on the street," said tenant David Edwards.

He and his girlfriend were homeless before they moved into their tiny space. They fear they could be back on the streets again.

The hotel and its property managers, RMD Services in Emeryville, have long been the subject of lawsuits and code violation complaints. An RMD Services employee, who did not want to be identified, told ABC7 the agency has helped to relocate some tenants. He said the building's owner plans to either renovate or sell the property.

Despite the "notice to vacate," the employee said that no one is being evicted. He called it "bad PR" and said it was a misunderstanding. Still, tenants who received that notice are worried about their future and have not seen anything else in writing that tells them they can stay.

"I have nowhere to go," said a tenant who did not want to be identified.