Group ordered to fix 'deplorable' conditions in Oakland SRO

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Angry, terrified, and upset. That describes the feelings of tenants in an Oakland apartment building living in what they call deplorable conditions. The city sued the landlords of the building on 8th street. And this week, a judge ruled they have to repair common bathrooms and a common kitchen they demolished.

In the building, 34 residents share one common kitchen. Also in the kitchen, cockroaches. And in the hall, there's a tangle of wires and holes in the ceiling.

A hole in the hallway ceiling is seen at an SRO in Oakland, Calif. on August 19, 2016. The building's owners have been ordered to repair what tenants call deplorable conditions.


Last year, the Green Group took over ownership of a three-story single room occupancy building.

There are now only 2.5 hall baths open. Others were demolished in February along with another common kitchen and storage space. This left many elderly Chinese immigrants, who did not want to be identified, upset.

One renter said, "They want to remodel the whole building and rent it to people who have more money to rent."

Tenants pay around $400 a month rent. The conditions, they say, have prompted some to move out.

A representative for the new owners says they've done a lot of good there--- installing fire alarms and sprinklers. He says they intended to remodel the kitchen and bathrooms, only to be slowed down by the city permitting process.

"The inspectors, honestly, were not very helpful in helping us expedite that laundry list," said Thomas Kerbleski, the landlord's spokesperson. "Every time a new inspector would come and a new list would be created."

"The work they did went way beyond the scope of what their permits allowed," said Oakland City Attorney spokesperson Alex Katz. "They know they have to submit new plans, they just haven't done it yet."

The city attorney's office and the Asian Law Caucus filed a lawsuit against the owners for harassment. A judge is now calling for the bathrooms and kitchen to be repaired immediately.

A cockroach is seen at an SRO in Oakland, Calif. on Friday, August 19, 2016.


In fact some new temporary tenants showed up on Friday - two Canadians who rented a unit there on Airbnb they said for $70 a night.

"I've seen pictures," said one Airbnb tenant. "And he said the common areas were dingy."

They found their room and intended to avoid the common areas.

It's the state of affairs in a changing Oakland housing scene.
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