Berkeley Tenants Union Spring Campaign: Seismic Safety

ABC Warning screen shot

On May 20, several BTU members joined with UC Berkeley students for Housing Advisory Commissioner Igor Tregub’s Third Annual Day of Seismic Safety. We visited a number of buildings on the City’s “soft story” list — mostly apartments built over garages – which engineers identified as expected to pancake in an earthquake, leaving no time for residents to escape. Although the Planning Dept. tracks compliance with part of the 2006 law known as “Soft Story Part One,” city staff has said they cannot afford to check to make sure landlords are following another part of the law — the part where they tell tenants the building they are living in could kill them!

We visited many buildings that have posted the required signage since the first and second Days of Seismic Safety, but some which still have not posted the warning signs.

We spoke to a number of tenants who want to join with BTU in asking that the city actually enforce the law and, more importantly, make “Soft Story Part Two” — in which the buildings actually get retrofit!

Most importantly, as the news story linked below tells us, landlords want tenants to pay for the retrofit and blame rent control for not repairing their unsafe buildings. Please JOIN US to resist unwarranted rent increases!