Robert Frison first signed up to be a member of Causa Justa :: Just Cause after coming to the Oakland tenant rights clinic for help with his housing problem in late 2010. He had been experiencing harassment issues from the managers in his building operated by Lake Park Apartments. The managers left harassing notes on his car and front door, entered his apartment illegally, sent illegal rent increase notices, used their family member to intimidate Frison, pit his neighbors against him, returned his mail and packages, and even started a physical altercation with him.
Frison, who has been living in his rent-controlled apartment since 1997, said he believes that these tactics were being used against him as a means to push him out of his home of almost 15 years so that management could raise the rent of his apartment when new tenants moved in.
Frison was not prepared to allow this harassment push him out and he decided to fight back. He started by coming to Causa Justa :: Just Cause and learning about his rights. He wrote letters to the landlord demanding the harassment stop. He got other CJJC members to support him in passing our fliers in his neighborhood to let his neighbors know what he was going through. He shared the different ways in which his building managers were mistreating him and got the support of his neighbors.
Things got worse before they got better. Because of Frison’s strong will and effective organizing, one of his manager’s Bill Alvarez, actually tried to sue him in small claims court for harassing him and demanded $7,500 in damages from Frison! With preparation and truth on his side, Frison convinced the judge to dismiss Alvarez’s far-fetched claims outright. Since this finding in court the situation has improved significantly and Frison is enjoying more peace in his housing situation.
“This is not a victory just for me but for all tenants. Everyone needs to know that we do have rights and we need to stand up for them. I promise that if you stand up for yourself, that CJJC and I will support you,” said Frison.
Harassment cases can be very stressful and difficult but they can be won. Unfortunately, Frison’s case is not unique as many Oakland residents deal with similar conditions on a daily basis. If you or someone you know is dealing with a tenant issue join Causa Justa :: Just Cause today. Get support, give support and fight back. You are not alone.