FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: AUGUST 4TH 2023
ALMADEN STREET TENANTS JOIN IN RENT STRIKE AGAINST BAY AREA ABSENTEE LANDLORD AND R&R PROPERTIES, COMMUNITY DEMONSTRATES IN SUPPORT
On the morning of August 4th, a handful of community members involved in the struggle of the Almaden Street tenants demonstrated inside the office of R&R Properties, to bring awareness to their aggressive harassment campaign of their own tenants in the wake of the King family rent strike and eviction. They also were announcing the addition of neighboring tenants to the strike, in hopes of community ownership of the Almaden St homes which have been long neglected by landlord Sharon Prager and R&R Properties.
Beginning August 1st, two more tenants on the Prager-owned lot of Almaden St. decided to join the King family in withholding their rent in hopes of pressuring the landlord to sell her property to tenants who will care for it much better than she does. This comes after an aggressive move mid-July on the part of R&R Properties, who sent letters to their paying tenants threatening to start eviction proceedings on August 1st if they did not remove the protesters from the collective driveway. Although the tenants had been clear that the protesters were not their guests, but that they did not mind their presence, R&R declared that the protesters were in fact “guests” of the paying tenants and that they would be in violation of the guest policy of their lease should the protest continue. One house of tenants chose to leave, the other chose to stay and fight, but both houses experienced chaos and fear at the hands of R&R Properties.
“We were dragged into this just because we live in the same space, not because we actually violated our lease or did anything wrong. R&R is willing to makes us homeless to try and make this problem go away, but we refuse to let them bully us out of our community,” says one of the rent striking tenants who prefers to remain nameless.
Tenants, their neighbors and community supporters have come together to say that these properties would be better managed by the people who live in them, rather than a property management company who does the bare minimum, and a woman in San Mateo who never sees the properties with her own eyes.
“We learned in eviction court that property management companies only need to check off low level boxes to stay within the letter of the law. Mold is tenant responsibility, pests are tenant responsibility. They only have to make sure the heat is turned on, not that it heats the house. It is clear from our experiences with R&R that they only care about their bottomline, not the genuine well-being of the people they house. If we continue to let our houses be controlled by profit motivated companies, we will always live in squalor. These should be homes, not properties,” says Erin Grady, another supporter of this project.
Candice King, whose rent strike kicked off this campaign said , “We have a vision for these homes, that they are owned by the people who live in them, and held in a community land trust that will care for the structures and the people in them for many decades to come. We will pursue this vision relentlessly. This is what our neighborhood needs and what everyone wants.”