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Tenants, Landlords and Advocates Rally for Housing Rights
By Sentinel Wire
Published September 11, 2018

 

LOS ANGELES—Today, Unincorporated Tenants United—a coalition of tenants, landlords, community stakeholders and legal advocates—marched to the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration to rally for rent stabilization and fair housing practices. The march and rally took place just prior to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors hearing public testimony on a proposed rent freeze that would cap rent increases at three percent for six months in unincorporated Los Angeles County. During the rally speakers highlighted the stark differences in tenants’ rights, from extreme rent increases to unfair evictions, for those living in unincorporated communities of Los Angeles compared with rent stabilized cities. Currently, tenants in unincorporated areas can be evicted for any reason, or no reason at all, and have no protections against unreasonable rent increases.

“We are in the midst of a severe housing shortage that is creating instability for families and tearing communities apart,” said Pastor William D. Smart, spokesperson for Unincorporated Tenants United. “This is both a practical as well as a moral crisis, and today, the Board has an opportunity to create stability for communities and stem the tide of people being displaced from their homes by voting yes on a temporary rent freeze.”

In recent years, the housing crisis has intensified in Los Angeles. With population growth and more corporate landlords buying rental buildings, tenants in unincorporated Los Angeles who lack protections have been particularly vulnerable to unreasonable rent increases, severe habitability issues and unfair evictions. In fact, most of the hundreds of thousands of renters in unincorporated Los Angeles are rent burdened with 30% or more of their income going towards rent every month. These rents are often unmanageable and are leading to families either moving out of the county, or worse becoming homeless. Furthermore, housing instability caused by significant and unpredictable rent increases, along with a lack of just cause eviction protections, also causes disruptions to employers, churches, schools, healthcare systems and local economies.

During the rally, tenants spoke of their personal experience and the impact that rent stabilization would have on families.

“We’ve worked hard our whole lives, and I never expected to be facing homelessness at 63,” said Jose Nunez a resident in the Florence Firestone area of Los Angeles County. “Now we’re facing an eviction just because we complained about unhealthy conditions in our building. It’s time to give tenants the protections they need to feel stable and secure in their communities.”

In addition to tenants, small landlords are also coming out in support of rent stabilization, which would help them compete with corporate landlords by promoting stable tenancy while still allowing them to receive a fair return on their investments.

“I’ve lived in my neighborhood for 30 years and am seeing my community be ripped apart by rent increases that people simply can’t afford,” said Beverly Roberts, a landlord and homeowner in the Westmont area of unincorporated Los Angeles County. “Landlords don’t need to gouge tenants to get a fair return on our investments, and without a rent freeze, I will continue to see people I know and love displaced and the community I’ve been a part of building for the past three decades destroyed.”

Today’s temporary measure, introduced by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis, would impact 50,000 rented units in multi-family buildings in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

“Renters in Los Angeles face significant pressures, with a disproportionate number being people of color who are living in communities that are generally ignored, underserved and lacking opportunities that create stability and security.” said Michael Lawson, President and CEO of Los Angeles Urban League.  “It is critical we enact rent stabilization and tenant protections now while we continue to work to find ways to address the systemic and institutional barriers that prevent all of the citizens of Los Angeles from enjoying the benefits of the rich and diverse city we call home.”

For additional information about the coalition or their efforts please contact Jenny Delwood at 310-591-7353 or jdelwood@libertyhill.org.

Categories: Daily Briefs | Real Estate
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