A new type of squatter (SF Bay Area housing shortage effect)

15 Replies

TL, DR: Two homeless women moved themselves into a vacant home in West Oakland (Bay Area/CA) and intend to stay there, rent free.

This made the evening news last night. As a resident of the Bay Area, I definitely understand the struggles and frustrations. However, actively moving into a vacant property, as though it is legitimately your new home, is something I hadn't seen/heard of before. Nor the community support for the effort. Very curious to see how this turns out. [Apologies if this has already been posted - I did a search and didn't see it].


I've heard my share of squatter stories....for example, heirs receiving their portion of the inheritance from the sale of the home and then staying to get a relocation payout. Folks trying to break into vacant homes listed for sale on the market. Haven't heard a story about activists forcing their way into a future rehab project, but I'm not surprised.  

Wish activists would focus on helping to create housing policy changes that encourage more supply and result in lower housing costs....taking down senseless moratoriums that limit building use, changing zoning restrictions to allow for higher density housing, lowering development impact fees, etc. etc. we all know. The only results I've seen from Oakland's ridiculous impact fees are the hello housing projects, which are SINGLE family homes. 

Anyway, maybe, as the article mentions, the activists will end up purchasing the home from Wedgewood by crowdfunding and leveraging this media attention.....but Wedgewood and other REITs definitely have the funds for the lawyers to get these folks out, and they will most definitely become another poster child for evil landlords and real estate professionals. 

ALSO, hahhahahaha @Saj Shah TRUE. 

@Katie P. Totally agree! With all of the development going on all over Oakland, it's a shame more of it isn't affordable (I believe one of the two near completion near MacArthur BART has a portion allocated as "affordable", but I could be wrong). The rent control ordinances springing up certainly don't help matters (Richmond is trying to really go off the rails with ours).

The Merc did a longer piece on the situation: https://www.mercurynews.com/2019/11/18/homeless-mothers-activists-take-over-vacant-oakland-house/

I foresee a giant s*** show coming on this one...

The lack of subsidized affordable housing in the country in the one undeniable truth discussed on BP.  There are multiple year wait lists in many jurisdictions...and the challenge is so large that it will not likely be resolved in my lifetime.

I am also certain of two other things (1) stealing from others is an unacceptable solution and (2) the victim mentality paralyzes people (including me).

2928 Magnolia St. 

Looks like the current owners picked it up at foreclosure in August of 2019.

I think at some point activists aren't crazy to make a "piss or get off the pot" argument for someone holding onto a vacant property for a long time without doing anything with it. I don't necessarily think I'd agree with the argument, but it's not crazy. Housing crisis and whatnot. 

But making such an argument after three months is indeed crazy. Drawing up plans, getting permits, etc, takes time, and you're moving at the speed of the city government of Oakland. 

I just don’t like the message this is sending to the children. I remember growing up in Long Beach in the early 80’s as a product of welfare and food stamps. I would get a new toy, play with it, then sell it and save enough money to buy something that I really wanted. It was never okay for me to lie, cheat or steal. These “activist” need to think about the long-term debilitating ramifications of their actions. Because it sounds like a group is condoning illegal activity in the name of “JUSTICE”. If you could spell justice with a BS

Am I missing something? The squatter is saying she is reclaiming the home......but it doesn't look like she ever lived there in the first place?   That being said, this is absolutely incredible, and not in a good way. The fact that the media is talking about this will potentially make more homeless people try to do something like this and therefore make the problem even worse. This is bad all around. 

Those squatters aren’t messing around. I drove past there just now and one of the ladies was standing out front and she actually waved and smiled at me....it appears an acquaintance of there’s was also there in a blue SUV that drove up and they were having a conversation. 

No TV vans or “signs” or anything like that outside the house. Truth be told if nobody knew the address that this occurred at and things hadn’t been publicized about how they moved in it probably wouldn’t even be a “ story”. 

I get the feeling that people made sure this was publicized for a reason.

@Brian Garlington

Where did this distinction between a trespasser and squatter. If you are home and someone breaks into your home you can call the police and defend your property. If you leave your house then someone breaks in they become a squatter? It's insanity

@Account Closed   You live in Las Vegas, that's the difference. In Las Vegas you do exactly what you said. 

In California...if we encounter a trespasser, we are supposed to ask them nicely to leave, if they don't leave we are to offer them coffee,...along with creamer (as long as the creamer does not have high fructose corn syrup and is also dairy free in case the trespasser is Vegan). Then and only then can we call the police (non-emergency line of course) and invite them over and then we have a reasonable discussion about it until we all come to a reasonable solution.

If we are NOT home then we are supposed to knock on the door, gently of course and if the squatter does not let us into the property that we pay the mortgage on, then we are to calmly leave them alone, and continue paying the gas and electric and water bills and order food in to them three times a day either through Grubhub, Doordash or Postmates. When a Court date is set we are to provide an UberX for them.....if we order UberPool that could be considered harrassment so we can't do that. Approximately 9 months later when the dust is settled and we have provided a top notch moving company to move their belongings ...and it better be top notch, otherwise we will be sued along with the moving company if any of their items are mishandled during the eviction......We will then be allowed to move back into our own property.

And before you ask, why do I still live in Oakland instead of somewhere else, lets just say because of the military and a few other life adventures I have lived in the Midwest as well as Asia and visited all over this country and Europe and there is no other place I'd rather live than the San Francisco Bay Area.  

I’ve heard of things like this happening in SF. But usually it’s by the post-punk-alt crowd, not 2 well dressed ladies with kids. I’m not sure how the law on this works (fortunately all my units are rented :) But I recall something about squatters having some rights if they make it past 30 days? I also remember conflicting info where the police have to remove them as they are trespassing. Not sure if they are going to put Pg&e under their names pronto, or maybe conjure up a bogus “lease”, etc., which could prolong police efforts, as I’ve heard that squatters will show those docs to the police. If I were the owners or PM I’d get on this right away. The longer it goes the worse it’ll get. 

But as @Jana Cain said, and especially with the holidays and colder weather setting in, a sh!tshow of epic proportions is about to beset Oakland. It’s sad, but get out the popcorn, as I think this thread is going multipage as the situation unfolds. 

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