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Seeking an attorney in the E Bay for tenant abuse
Hello, I am writing this message for a friend who's in a bad housing situation. She and
her partner live in an apartment in Oakland and there are only three units in the
building. The landlady has been abusive and and physically violent as well as making
horrific noise above them to punish them. They have had to call the police. They looked
for low cost legal help and could find no one to help them. Since their building only has
three units, Just Cause could be of no help to them. They don't have a lot of money for
an attorney and one of them is permanently disabled.
I know it's a long shot, but does anyone out there know of an attorney who handles
tenant/landlord cases that might work in some sort of non-profit setting. I believe that
they have a strong case. They have kept records of everything.
If anyone knows of anyone out there who could help or might know of some referrals, that
would be so appreciated. anonymous
Berkeley's Rent Stabilization Board has a website with a lot of helpful links:
This includes contact info for the East Bay Community Law Center, Eviction
Defense Center, Tenants Together, and Bay Area Legal Aid. Also, mediation
services such as: SEEDS Community Resolution Center, and the Berkeley Rent
Stabilization Board (could give references/suggestions if their jurisdiction
doesn't include Oakland).
Legal: Lawyers in the Library - Berkeley Public Library, Alameda County Bar
Association Lawyer Referral Service, Alameda County Bar Association Volunteer
Legal Services Program, California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
Best of luck, A Berkeley apartment manager
Call Bay Area Legal Aid. They have offices in Richmond, Oakland and other Bay
Area cities. They can definitely help or put you in the right direction.
I feel terrible for your friends - that sounds like an awful position to be in
as tenants. I recommend that they contact Michael Bracamontes at Bracamontes
& Vlasak. This law firm is located in San Francisco, but Michael is very
familiar with tenants rights in all of the east bay cities (he went to law
school at UC Berkeley). The attorneys at B&V are really excellent at what they
do. Also, in many cases firms that handle tenants rights issues do not require
upfront payment, but rather work on a contingency basis, so your friends' lack
of funds should not be an issue. BV Law: 415-835-6777
Phone or call the Tobener Law Center in San Francisco (though I believe they have an
office in Oakland). They have helped me and other who have been in similar situations.
Talk with them I am sure they will do their best to try and work within the constraints
of their situation. Their website is http://www.tobenerlaw.com and their phone number is
Best of luck. Anon
Tenant Lawyer to help get out of lease
The rental house my family moved into in March is infested with rat mites. All of
us who live here, me, my 2 year old, and my husband are being bitten regularly. The
bites are extremely itchy and last for several days.
I have had several pest controllers out and they all agree that keeping rats out of
the crawl space and attic will be costly and very difficult due to the type of
foundation and roof tiles on this house.
I'm also 8 months pregnant and don't want to subject my newborn to itchy bites
especially since they are coming from potentially diseased rats. I'm planning a
home birth and am not excited about giving birth among the invisible mites either.
Does anyone have a recommendation for a tenant lawyer that could help us get out of
our lease? I'm due at the end of July and feel like I'm running out of time to
allow my landlord to resolve the issue. JC
I cannot recommend the Tobener Law Center enough, they specialized in these matters. They are a
law firm that does not seem like a law firm. They are personable and their rates were reasonable.
You can contact them through their website. They have done wonders for me in the past.
Best of luck. Anon
If you have already asked that ''landlord'' to release you from your lease and
that ''landlord'' has refused, I'm SHOCKED and saddened!!!
Run - do not walk - call local city (where you live) and county health
inspectors ASAP! Call your local ''rent board,'' if there is a ''rent board'' in
Show health officials photographic evidence of these bites, welts, whatever, and
show health inspectors reports from California-licensed pest control
exterminators, and MOVE!!!
The State of California health code requires housing be ''habitable''! Bug infested homes are
not LEGALLY ''habitable''!!!
Careful Property Owner
In need of a Tenant Lawyer
Can anyone recommend a tenant rights attorney in Berkeley?
Jean Shrem is a local mom, attorney, and real estate broker.
She can help you with landlord and tenant issues.
510-882-9992, Jean@ShremLaw.com . . SP in Berkeley
Andrew Wolfe. In downtown Oakland should be fine for a
Berkeley case. He handled my case expertly. Best of luck.
Call Joe Tobener in San Francisco. I believe he also has an
office in Oakland. He helped me out with my landlord who was
not making repairs in Albany, and he helped a group of my
friends who were wrongfully evicted from a place in San
Francisco. Joe was up front, caring, and did not come across
as your typical lawyer. He has a lot of information on his
site: http:// www.tobenerlaw.com/
Best of luck.
Lawyer for renters rights protection in Oakland
We sold our house very quickly and had to find a month-to-
month rental in a very short period while looking for our
next home. We ended up renting in Oakland from a woman we
now believe is not paying property taxes and is forging
our signatures and falsifying information to her bank
saying we are living together as roommates. She will not
provide an address to forward mail, and enters the home
without our consent. She is very threatening and texts me
threats that if we do not find ways to help her get her
loan refinanced then she will change the locks. We have
small children and find her behavior very disturbing.
We paid 2 months deposit and first and last months rent
totalling over $15,000 - even though we knew the longest
we would occupy the home would be 6 months. We want to
ensure we get our deposits back and are very worried since
she appears to be insolvent. Does anyone have any
recommendations for a renters rights attorney? She had
promised us that we would receive the deposits in full
after our walk-through, but now is trying to say she never
agreed to that and lost the signed copies of our initial
lease. Any recommendations on how to protect ourselves
will be appreciated, as we are planning to move within the
I highly recommend Toni Mims-Cochran. She has been a
tenant attorney in Oakland for 13 years. She represents
tenants in unlawful detainer actions (evictions), wrongful
evictions, lawsuits against the landlord who fail to
maintain their properties in a habitable condition. She
also represents tenants who are being evicted from
She has an excellent reputation in the landlord/tenant
Her info is as follows:
Law Offices of Toni Mims-Cochran
1814 Franklin Street, Suite 907
Oakland, CA 94612
I'm looking for an attorney who can help me understand my rights as a tenant
regarding landlord/tenant boundaries.
I rent a house in Oakland with my two children and my landlord lives downstairs. She is entering my unit when I'm not there, telling my kids to do things for her, stopping the mail without my knowledge, etc. I spoke to my landlord regarding the about. She agreed not to do them but over
time, she forgets. To help her remember, I put it in writing which made things
worst. She got upset and told me, ''itbon the network are from 1999.s MY house!'' I want my landlord to know
that she is my landlord and nothing more. She is not a family member or friend. Or
am I being too hard on her?
Does anyone know of an attorney who deals with landlord/tenant boundaries?
My husband is a property attorney and stated that your
landlord is in the wrong, but that it probably wouldn't make
sense for you to pay his firm $275/hr to take the case and
suggested you start with the below resource:
Best of luck.
Check out Nolo.com or go to your library and look for their
book, California Tenant's Rights. It should tell you
everything you need to know and how to handle it for much less
than a lawyer.
My housemates and I are looking for help dealing with our
landlord. We've had a difficult time getting the most basic
repairs made (leaking roof, rotting deck, etc.). We'd like to
find a lawyer or other person or organization that specializes in
tenant/landlord issues. We live in Oakland, so it would need to
be someone that is familiar with tenant rights in Oakland. Thanks for any suggestions
It was several years ago, but I had a wonderful experience with
Andy Cohn in Berkeley. I went to him as a landlord, but I know
he also represents tenants, and has worked several cases in
Oakland. I went to him because I had very difficult tenants that
had violated their lease, and when confronted, not only denied
the infractions, but made threatening remarks to me. I was very
impressed with how skillfully Andy defused the situation, and was
able to negotiate an outcome that everyone accepted - without
having to go to court. I always felt that Andy had my best
interests at heart, while also being fair to my tenants.
His contact information is:
Andrew S. Cohn
1942 University Ave, Suite 206
Berkeley, CA 94704-1024
Also, have you looked into tenants-rights organizations? I had a
friend that worked for one in San Francisco that offered free
legal services to tenants - there may be a similar organization
-former landlord, not the evil kind
I don't have any attorney referrals but wonder if you have tried contacting a
City housing inspector. In Berkeley, if your landlord refuses to fix serious
problems with the unit's condition, you can request a City housing inspection.
If the landlord is cited for housing code violations, the landlord must correct
the violations and face fines if s/he does not. There is probably a similar
process in Oakland. Try contacting the Code Compliance Division of the City of
Oakland's Community & Economic Development Agency (CEDA). Start at the main
Under State law, tenants have a ''repair and deduct'' remedy, found in Civil Code
section 1942. It is quite specific and certain procedures must be followed. You
can find the text of this section at
Hello - I am looking for updated recommendations on attorneys
specializing in landlord / tenant disputes.
Thanks for your help! Jane
There is a law firm in Oakland called Fitzgerald Abbott &
Beardsley and they do landlord/tenant disputes. It's a very
well-respected firm with great attorneys. They've been around
for a million years
Your message doesn't specify whether you are a landlord or
tenant. Many attorneys specialize in one side or the other. If
you are a tenant having a problem with your landlord, I suggest
you call Robert DeVries at (415) 546-5100. He is very
experienced in tenant representation.
I'd highly recommend Jeffrey Carter in downtown Berkeley for
landlord/tenant disputes. His office number is 510-548-4774.
Here are some recommendations for landlord/tenant matters:
Stewart Schwartz - 510-548-8585 - Does property owner disputes
and may do landlord/tenant disputes
Zona Sage - 510-420-1410 - does tenant side - usually big cases
Leah Hess - 510-451-3103 - tenant side
Sally Elkington - 510-601-0404 - tenant side
Ron Wong - 510841-9664 - landlord side
I recommend Michael St. John. He's actually a mediator, not a
lawyer but he was very helpful to us in negotiating a
tenant/landlord problem. He took a measured, realistic, ''win-
win'' approach. We ended up paying our tenant to vacate. She
got a good chunk of money and we got to move into the unit. I
think everyone was satisfied. He's a long-time Berkeley
resident and very knowledgeable about rent control. Phone
number for St. John Associates is 510 845-8928
Would like referrals to lawyers experienced in assisting with
rights in Berkeley (specifically eviction).
I hope you have been to the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board. There
very specific "just causes" for eviction in Berkeley, and the rent
can determine if the causes apply in your case. The number of
Berkeley has *tripled" this year because of the new vacancy decontrol
I'd like to recommend Bill Simpich 444-0226 in Oakland. I used him
lawsuit against a landlord and settled to my satisfaction. He is a
negotiater. He often seems to be very busy but, in the end, worth it
Another good tenant attorney is Sally Elkington on Telegraph in
located next to Mama Bears. Her number is 601-0404. Good luck.
My husband, Timothy Rumberger, is an excellent tenant's rights
ten years experience practicing in Berkeley. He is always busy, but
he would be willing to discuss any questions you may have about your
or any affirmative claims you may have against your landlord. It may
him a while to get back to you just now. We have a two-month old and
still not getting much sleep. His number is 510-841-5500 and his
at Center & Shattuck in Downtown Berkeley.
Berkeley Community Law Center works with tenants who qualify for free
services due to income. I am sure that they can rec. a good lawyer
your income disqualifies you from receiving free services. The
rent board may also be able to rec. a good lawyer.
I would also like to recommend a very good, experienced tenants'
attorney, Phil Rapier (who's also a very nice person). His number is
510-444-6262. He graduated from Boalt Law School in 1983. He may,
on vacation right now.
There's only one who is the best and most reasonably priced: for 30
everyone knows that's Jeff Carter in Berkeley. I founded the Berkeley
Tenants Union and I've known him since '69. I get no benefit from
He's just the sweetest and smartest guy. I won't even tell him I
this. We're friends because of our parenting.
this page was last updated: Oct 10, 2013
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