Oakland artist building shut down after fire, blocks away from Ghost Ship

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Just two months after the deadly Ghost Ship fire that killed 36 people, another artist community building is being shut down after a fire.

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Fire inspectors found multiple violations inside the property and have forced 21 tenants to move out.

Greg Chin is one of the artists who lived at The Art Rattan Studios in Oakland's Fruitvale District.

Since the fire, he's been living with his parents in Daly City. "Some are living in and out of their cars, other tenants are couch surfing or staying with friends," said Chin.

It's been more than a month since a small fire brought out inspectors who demanded that the power be turned off after finding multiple code violations.

Under the Mayor's executive order, the landlord has 60-days to come up with a plan to bring the space into compliance with the city.

"We do not want to displace any individuals but at the same time we got to guarantee their safety," said Noel Gallo, from the Oakland City Council.

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Shortly after the ghost Ship fire, Mayor Libby Shaaf vowed to protect the artists' community from being displaced and promised there would be no "witch hunts" in search of violators.

In this case, the city found it necessary to protect the people who lived at the property, particularly because there are no fire escapes.

Tenants at The Art Ratten Studios say the landlord lied and never told them that the building was zoned only for light industrial use.

Adriel Wong had signed two leases. "It did say commercial, but it also said live-work and my other one upstairs says residential, specifically residential," said Wong.

What these tenants didn't know is that two weeks ago the city council passed Rebecca Kaplan's tenant protection ordinance.

"If the tenant is not the one at fault and they are being made to move out so that the owner can make upgrades and other code related work, the tenants are not, by law, entitles to relocations assistance," said Kaplan.

By law, the landlord must pay for their temporary housing until they can move back in.
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