Renters and housing activists at Alameda’s
Bay View Apartments.

Residents at Alameda’s Bay View Apartments on Central Avenue have stood as the symbol of the island community’s struggle with rising rents and a lack of affordable housing for more than two years.

On Wednesday, just days before the start of a new school year, three families received 60-day eviction notices from the owners of the complex, known in popular parlance as 470 Central. Three additional tenants were given three-day notices for non-payment, said the Alameda Renters Coalition.

They evictions come at a time when an Alameda landlords group successfully postponed implementation of just cause restrictions approved by the Alameda City Council in June. A referendum petition sought by landlords to nullify just cause, which allows property owners to evict tenants without cause, was certified in July by the Alameda city clerk.

The renters’ group laid blame for Wednesday morning’s on the Alameda landlords group behind the voter referendum.

“The no cause evictions were made possible by “Alamedans in Charge for a Fair and Affordable City,” said Eric Strimling, a spokesperson for the Alameda Renters Coalition. Strimling added that tenants who were issued three-day notices for non-payment have documentation to prove their rents were up-to-date.

The repeated moves to evict tenants by San Jose-based property owner Matt Sridhar over the last two years, however, has proven to be a thorn in the side of Alameda’s publicity-adverse group of local property owners. Sridhar claims no ties to the local Alameda landlords’ groups and in the past has made denigrating comments against some of its leadership.

Conversely, the high-profile case at 470 Central was an early catalyst for the Alameda Renters Coalition and provided them with public support that ultimately pushed the city council to enact a rent stabilization ordinance in March 2016.

Yet the Alameda landlords’ action last month to postpone the city council’s approval of just case restrictions has paved the way for Sridhar’s eviction notices.

That’s because the city council in May specifically attempted to thwart an earlier round of Sridhar’s 60-day eviction notices by shifting the timing of when the amended ordinance would go into effect. During the same meeting, Councilmember Frank Matarrese, who did not vote for the just cause amendment, said Sridhar’s actions at 470 Central were “criminal.”

But after the landlords’ referendum was successfully certified, it indefinitely removed the ordinance’s amendments and freed Sridhar and other landlords to continue with the option to evict tenants without cause.

A date for placing the just cause issue on a subsequent ballot will be determined by the city council in early September. An additional charter amendment petition hit the streets earlier this month that would similarly reverse the city council’s action last June and lock into place the original rent stabilization ordinance, which also contains no just cause restrictions.