An Alameda County judge on Wednesday paid a visit to an Oakland building where dozens of tenants say they're living in deplorable conditions because the landlord wants them out.
Judge Brad Seligman, who is presiding over a lawsuit filed by tenants, spent about 20 minutes inside the low-rent Chinatown hotel where residents say 33 households are sharing three bathrooms and one kitchen, and they rarely have hot water.
Attorneys for the tenants say in the lawsuit that the new owners deliberately made living conditions bad so the current residents would move out, and the building could be converted into studios catering to students and tech workers.
According to court documents, for the past six months during renovations, cameras were installed in the kitchen and hallways, along with a microphone. Also four of the property’s seven bathrooms were shuttered, and hot water is only sometimes available, the documents said.
Seligman, who toured the facility along with attorneys, has the power to get the bathrooms back to working order and will decide if the surveillance cameras will be removed. Attorneys say a decision on urgent issues will be made soon.
The judge declined to comment on what he saw inside, saying it's an ongoing case.
The case is scheduled to return to court on Tuesday.