On the evening of Valentine’s Day, dozens of Oakland tenants and their supporters chose a San Francisco restaurant and hotel owned by their landlord to protest increasing rents.
Mosser, a company that owns more than 80 properties in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles, is the landlord of the protesting tenants and owner of the Mosser Hotel. They say the company told them it has to make improvements to their buildings that would allow Mosser to increase their rents.
“It’s real,” said Oakland tenant Angela Shannon. “This kind of stress, it takes a real toll on people’s health and people’s lives. We don’t have to wait until people are on the street to take it seriously.”
Sabeena Shah, another renter from Oakland, pays 20% more than she did three years ago. Shah is a teacher who also works as a nanny to make ends meet.
“I thank God that I’m in good health and that I have the ability to work two jobs and seven days a week, but I can’t say the same for my neighbors,” Shah said.
Shah said the improvements Mosser wants to make should be considered maintenance.
“I think it’s a way for them to pad their wallets and to make it look like they’re improving the building without addressing any of the serious issues we have around habitability.”
The protesters said they will keep pleading with the rent board in Oakland. Mosser did not respond to NBC Bay Area’s request for comment.