City Settles with Landlord

City Settles with Landlord

Sun Staff Reports

The Prosecution Unit of the Alameda City Attorney’s Office has reached a settlement with an Alameda landlord who had allegedly evicted a former tenant on the fraudulent pretext that she was going to occupy the apartment herself but did not move in and instead re-rented the unit for almost double the rent.

Mingli Wang owns a duplex on Buena Vista Avenue. Shortly after buying the property in 2016, she served a notice to the tenants in one of the units, stating that they had to vacate so that she could move in.

The former tenant and her late husband were both disabled. Her husband was also a senior. They had rented the apartment for more than five years and were paying a controlled rent of $1,450 when Wang served them with the eviction notice. Wang allegedly never moved into the unit, and later began renting it out for almost double the former rent.

Under the City’s rent control laws, landlords must have “just cause” to evict tenants. A legitimate owner move-in is a just cause. However, the landlord must actually move into the unit to qualify.

“Many landlords, and also tenants, still don’t know about these important housing laws,” said City Attorney Yibin Shen. “There are only limited ways to remove a tenant in Alameda. Fraudulently using the owner move-in exception to evict tenants violates local housing laws.”

Under the settlement, the landlord is paying $10,000, in addition to $7,353 in permanent relocation funds already paid to the tenants. From the $10,000 settlement payment, $5,000 will go directly to the tenant, to supplement and support her relocation efforts. The remainder will go to the city to help pay its investigation and enforcement costs.

Deputy City Attorney Montague Hung and Paralegal Rico Fenix from the City Attorney’s Prosecution Unit investigated the complaint against Wang and obtained the settlement.

“The City of Alameda has longstanding policies aimed to produce, protect, and preserve housing, especially affordable housing, in our community,” said City Attorney Shen.

“Our office is committed to justly enforcing state and local fair housing laws and ensuring that Alameda remains a place that people from all income levels and backgrounds can call home.”

The Alameda City Attorney Office’s Prosecution Unit educates the public and enforces the laws governing fair housing and consumer protection in our community. If you have questions or would like to report an issue, please contact the Prosecution Unit at (510) 747-4772 or email to cityprosecutor@alamedacityattorney.org.