Friday, March 22, 2013

Hot Mess/RCA Victory

Squatter’s Rights Upheld in Court of Law

Occupation in Oakland, California Has Victory Fighting Eviction

Press Release
March 17, 2013


Steven DeCaprio

Oakland, CA- On Thursday March 14, 2013 occupiers of properties in Oakland, California won the legal battle to maintain community space in the Alameda County Superior Court. Judge Victoria Kolakowski issued a judgment in favor of the defendants, occupiers of the properties known as the Hot Mess/RCA Compound, and against plaintiff Rockridge Properties, LLC. This community space includes housing, an urban farm project, and a social center. In a long fight for squatter’s rights this judgment is a welcome victory.

Oakland, which is known for one of the most resilient encampments of the Occupy movement, has also been home to numerous occupied spaces before and after the Occupy movement began.

In her ruling dismissing the lawsuit on March 14, 2013 Judge Victoria Kolakowski stated, “There is no authority for the proposition that the successor of an ownership interest also obtains the prior owner’s possessory rights retroactively.” (Rockridge Properties, LLC v. Carey et al., Alameda County Superior Court case number RG12638555)

Upon their victory co-defendant Steven DeCaprio, CEO and founder of the non-profit Land Action, stated, “This ruling gives hope that we will return to the principal that land should be used for the benefit of society and not merely as a commodity to be abused by banks and speculators.”

Since the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008, banks who received generous bailouts by the federal government have, for the most part, refused to provide any relief to home owners facing foreclosure.

Teri-Dawn Elkins, Development Director for Land Action states, “This victory for occupiers should put the banks on notice that it is in their best interests to renegotiate mortgages with home owners rather than later losing those foreclosed properties to adverse possessors such as the ones in the HM/RCA Compound.”