Some tenants in Midtown reached out to us about being treated horribly by their landlords, who are Leticia and Bassam Assad. The bad treatment had been happening at a simmer for years, but reached a boil after the tenants applied for the SERA rent relief program. For some reason many retrograde landlords despise this program, even when it means they still get paid 100% of usual rent. In this case, Mr. and Mrs. Assad were actually paid 125% of rent for several months.
We delivered a demand letter to Mr. and Mrs. Assad’s residence on October 1st, 2021. They shortly did two things: email us a bunch of lies trying to save their image, and continue to abuse thier tenants. On October 6th, the Assads sent their tenants an illegal 3-day eviction notice followed shortly by an illegal 15-day eviction notice. Needless to say, we take a dim view of such attempts at retaliation.
We live in a society dominated by oppressive structures which intentionally bury tenant and labor rights and tries to silence our organizing efforts. Additionally, the same abusive structures “empathize” with landlords by allowing them to brashly perform innumerable, violent and ongoing abuses toward tenants in our community and beyond. In Sacramento, this is deeply terrifying for many renters. The tenants we’re working with know their rights, but many do not. When a landlord serves less informed tenants a bogus eviction / pay-or-quit notice, they might not know the difference between that and an actual court-approved eviction, and mistakenly assume they now need to move out.
The Facts About Evictions in California
In fact, evictions against tenants who “complete a specific declaration that they have ‘COVID-19 related financial distress’ (lost income, increased expenses, etc.)” are banned in California.
See document below.
How You can also Defend Yourself and Your Community
If you or someone you know is being similarly harassed or threatened by a landlord and want to organize defense against these attacks, you or they can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You or they can also reach the Sacramento Tenant’s Union at email@example.com
The tenants we are working with have been incredibly pro-active in learning their rights, asserting them, and holding the Assads accountable to their legal obligations as landlords. This is for the best, because actively defending ourselves and each other is more effective than letting such mutual defense be completely outsourced, alienated and turned into services. Services can win defensive battles, but there is much more potential power in mutual solidarity.
How You can Help these Tenant’s Right Now
We are asking all of you who agree that working class self defense is a necessity to join us in emailing the Assads and expressing to them how depraved their conduct is. Below is some draft language for such an email. Feel free to alter it before sending to firstname.lastname@example.org
However, please do not threaten violence, even by implication. Such threats, made from a “safe” distance, make things less safe for us and the tenants we are organizing with. We condemn all such threats and wish we did not have to say this.
As a member of your greater Sacramento community, I am troubled by the dangerous and abusive conditions you have perpetuated—mid-pandemic— for your tenants.
You should meet the reasonable requests made by your tenants and the Sacramento Solidarity Network to:
– Desist unannounced trespassing on the property including roaming the yard, breaking tenant property and stealing tenant mail
– Apply the rental credit to future month’s rent
– Cease attempts to charge late fees retroactively when payments haven’t been missed
– Always give 24-hours notice before visiting the property, as required by California Law
– see that the electrical wiring, alarms, shower knob, kitchen floor and kitchen counter are fully repaired, per Sacramento City Code repair requirements and other habitability laws
– Reimburse your tenants the $55 they spent to send overnight legal documents in response to your illegal 3-day retaliatory eviction notice.
-Reimburse tenants for $135 on a hotel stay while the only toilet in the unit was in disrepair for months.
– Above all, cease all attempts at retaliation against your tenants now and in the future
If you choose not to heed these requests, we stand ready to take further action.
We will keep the Sacramento community informed of any significant future developments in this matter. Further action will likely be needed before we can reach a reasonable resolution. In the meantime, please reach out to us if you have any questions, concerns or would like to offer any assistance to our efforts towards economic justice.