Business owners face sudden lease changes, pursue matter with city council with CAIR-WA’s help

Abdullahi and Khadra have been leasing with the city for several years that have been wrought with unclear and changing lease terms and rent. After several years with the city, Abdullahi and Khadra grew to believe that they were being specifically targeted by the city’s lax accounting practices to exploit their status as immigrants.

Prior to taking over the lease, Abdullahi and Khadra’s father managed the lease, and their father was not proficient in English. They believe that the City grew accustomed to taking advantage of a less proficient tenant by adding auxiliary charges to the rent.

In addition to unaccounted auxiliary rent charges, Abdullahi and Khadra noticed that they were being treated differently than tenants of other national-origin backgrounds. When Abdullahi and Khadra submitted a proposal for lowering their monthly rent rate, they were denied, though others had been approved. When Abdullahi and Khadra submitted a proposal for a halal grocery store, they were denied and different tenant opened a grocery store in the same space shortly thereafter.

Frustrated by the city’s overt sloppy accounting but dependent on the property and businesses for their livelihood, Abdullahi and Khadra felt trapped.

After contacting CAIR-WA, Abdullahi and Khadra were connected with a pro bono attorney who specializes in contracts. The attorney reviewed the lease and stated that the charges accrued by Abdullahi and Khadra were not illegal according to the lease. Though the city was being unfair, they were not engaging in illegal practices. In lieu of legal recourse, Abdullahi and Khadra decided to pursue the matter with the city council, a meeting for which they are currently preparing with CAIR-WA’s help.

1 Names have been changed to protect privacy.