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1 Jul 2019

Jane Dixon, OaklandNewsNow (USA)

USA: Oakland city attorney files lawsuit against local real estate companies over alleged violations of tenants' rights

"City Of Oakland Attorney Sues Mann Family Over Real Estate Violations" 1 Jul 2019

, CA – City of  City Attorney Barbara J. Parker has filed a lawsuit charging the leaders of a prominent local real estate and taxi empire with systematically violating the rights of tenants at buildings owned by their family companies.

People of the State of California and the City of Oakland v. Dodg Corp, Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG19022353

Defendants Baljit Singh Mann and Surinder Mann are a married couple with extensive business interests in , including the Friendly Cab company and dozens of real estate holdings. Through multiple companies, the defendants own and operate numerous rental properties where tenants, including families with young children and pregnant women, have been subjected to grave risks to their health, safety and lives in flagrant violation of ’s Tenant Protection Ordinance. At least one family ended up temporarily homeless because of the landlords’ negligence.

Since at least 2016, the defendants have rented uninhabitable or dilapidated units in buildings across the city to tenants who are often low-income immigrants and speak little to no English. Defendants have profited from this predatory business model by renting unsafe units to tenants who are desperate to find affordable housing, and often are unable to take legal action to defend their rights.

“The defendants in this case are textbook predatory landlords who have profited for years from willfully violating the basic legal and human rights of tenants,” City Attorney Parker said. “In the midst of a devastating housing crisis in , the defendants have used their wealth and power not to help vulnerable families, but to exploit these tenants in a way that is both illegal and inhumane. This business model, based on systematic abuse of tenants’ rights, ends now.”

The lawsuit filed June 10 by the City Attorney’s Neighborhood Law Corps focuses on six properties located in  where defendants have received at least 22 notices from the City regarding serious violations. Three of those six properties were completely or partially red tagged by the City’s Code Enforcement unit.