By Aline Reynolds.
In 2014, as she approached four decades of being a landlord, then 70-year-old east Oakland resident Dixi Carrillo decided to sell her rental property next to her home. Carrillo, a retired landscape photographer, was devoted to maintaining the 8,000-square-foot building where 10 musicians, painters and other artists have live-work space, but she wanted more time to pursue her own art.
Carrillo had always charged her tenants low rents, and she didn’t want to see them evicted by a profit-seeking landlord. “When my husband and I bought the property in the first place, it wasn’t really about making an investment. It had to do with wanting a community of like-minded people,” Carrillo says.
When a developer with a subpar reputation as a property manager offered her $1.4 million in 2015 for the seven-unit parcel at 812 East 24th Street, she refused.
“He was going to tear out the walls of the individual units and make it his office,” says Carrillo of the prospective buyer. “It really would have displaced everybody. I’m still living here, so I care about what and who I live next door to.”
Carrillo eventually found a solution: This year, she sold the building to the Oakland Community Land Trust (OakCLT). The sale marks yet another coup for the nonprofit land holder, whose work protects some of the city’s lowest-income tenants from probable displacement by purchasing properties that are under threat of becoming market-rate rentals. (OakCLT estimates the median market rent of apartments in 5-plus-unit buildings in Oakland to be $2,731 a month.)