ALAMEDA | The Alameda landlord who has become the face for greater rent control restriction after he issued notices of eviction to 33 families in the Bay View Apartments last month, sent an inflammatory letter to city leaders strongly opposing regulations that support tenants’ rights. Matt Sridhar, the CEO of San Jose-based Sridhar Equities, LLC, also slammed a proposal to establish rent control in Alameda, and criticized Oakland for its rent control regulations.
In a three-page email sent to the mayor and city council just hours before a 65-day moratorium on rents and eviction was approved on November 4, Sridhar the new landlord at the Bay View Apartments, commonly referred to by its address, 470 Central (Avenue), said he would sell the property if rent control is enacted in Alameda.
Sridhar accused Alameda city leaders of caving to political pressure being applied by many tenants fearful of steeply rising rents and mass evictions in the city. “I am surprised and disappointed that Alameda would entertain this politically-motivated and reactionary agenda that simply interferes with free market enterprise and creates substantial government bureaucracy.” In boldface type, he continued, “I will tell you with certainty that if you pass rent control, I will SELL my property in Alameda and move on to improve another town.”
In an interview, Sridhar said he does not regret sending the letter, which was obtained through a public records request. “This is what you call a storm in a tea kettle,” he said. “I don’t regret it. People are free to speak the truth.” The entire situation with the mass evictions at the Bay View Apartments, he added, “is counterproductive for the town and personally a waste of my time.”
Sridhar, who said he built his equity firm from little, voiced strong criticism of Alameda’s elected officials and their handling of the moratorium last month and the revisions they approved on December 1. “The council is totally incompetent,” he told me. “They chose to change the moratorium because they don’t know what they’re doing. They have three lawyers [on the council] and a two-page moratorium. They didn’t know what was in it?”
Sridhar moved to evict all the tenants at 470 Central just days after the council enacted a moratorium on evictions in the city. Sridhar took advantage of a loophole in the moratorium that allowed evictions of landlords plan to do major capital improvements on the building. Earlier this week, the council voted to close that loophole.
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