A violent fight broke out when dozens of angry tenants crashed a cocktail party hosted by landlords to celebrate the end of a local eviction moratorium.
About 100 angry tenants showed up to the event with picket signs and a cake that said, “Hey landlord, get a real job,” to protest outside the party, until things got heated.
The interruptions quickly turned furious when protesters entered the Freehouse bar and the two sides began pushing and punching each other, Berkeley Property Owners Association (BPOA) President Krista Gulbransen told Berkeleyside.
Tenants carried signs reading: “They kick us out, we kick them out” and “no peace for the evictors” when they arrived at the party on Tuesday.
“This is what tenant power looks like!” the Tenants and Neighborhood Councils (TANC) wrote in Twitter.
A homeowner allegedly slapped a female protester in the face, while an elderly man was also hit in the fight as other protesters shouted, “Look at our power, look at our power, homeowners don’t have happy hour.”
About 100 angry tenants showed up at a landlord party with signs and a cake that said, “Hey landlord, get a real job” to fight their celebrations, sparking a violent fight over an end to the rent moratorium. eviction. Twitter/@TANC_Bay
Despite being called “hangers-on” when they entered the bar, the Berkeley HOA owners still enjoyed their party. According to Berkeleyside, the evening was filled with appetizers and drinks while the owners exchanged horror stories.
Eventually, protesters entered the bar, allegedly standing on chairs and throwing food, according to BPOA.
Police were called, but they did not remove the protesters, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
BPOA was celebrating the end of the COVID-19 era eviction moratorium that lasted three and a half years and lost thousands as many tenants failed to pay rent.
The moratorium prohibited landlords from evicting tenants who did not pay rent, but landlords have accused tenants of using the ban to save themselves a lot of money.
They brought a cake that said, “Hey owners, get a real job!” Protesters allegedly threw food at the owners and called them “parasites.” Twitter/@TANC_Bay
With the unemployment rate in Berkeley at 3.8% (and matching the national average), the moratorium ended on August 31, allowing landlords to begin kicking rent-evading tenants out of their units. and free up space in the wealthy area for higher-wage tenants.
The median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Berkeley is currently $2,295, down from $2,400 compared to the same period last year, according to Zillow.
Despite years of leniency, TANC called the celebration “deeply cruel” and “out of touch with the realities of the housing crisis in the Bay Area.”
The union accused landlords who favor evictions of helping to increase the homeless population.
BPOA was celebrating the end of the COVID-19 era eviction moratorium that lasted three and a half years and lost thousands as many tenants failed to pay rent. Twitter/@TANC_Bay
“The explosion of homelessness in our communities is a direct consequence of the actions of real estate capitalists, including BPOA member landlords, who prioritize rent gouging over people,” he wrote.
“TANC, as a tenant union, emphasizes that landlords are largely responsible for gentrification, displacement and homelessness. Far from celebrating, they should be held accountable for their actions.”
However, Gulbransen told the local that landlords “had no qualms about celebrating the end of the eviction moratorium.”
“We are celebrating the end of tenants who could have paid rent and chose not to.”