From the LA Tenants Union media committee:
Welcome to the first edition of The Tenant! Each issue of The Tenant will feature updates from LATU locals about recent goings-on in their neighborhood. We hope this will foster solidarity and communication across LATU citywide. We would appreciate any feedback at email@example.com
In the fall, Hollywood Local became increasingly aware of apartment buildings where HCID had granted the owners exemptions from the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO). While these exemptions are unjustified, the City has no process to appeal them. Hollywood has been pressuring the City to revoke the RSO exemptions, and to implement an appeals process. Members of Hollywood Local also remain actively involved in resisting large development projects that will reduce the number of RSO units in Hollywood. LATU members with the Yucca Argyle Tenants Association and the Crossroads Tenants Association have fought the demolition of their rent-controlled housing by retaining lawyers, speaking in public forums, giving testimony at city hearings, and attracting media attention.
Eastside has been supporting the case of Martina Gallegos and Teresa Alfaro, longtime leaders in the Boyle Heights community. They have been organizing against eviction proceedings filed against them by the new owner of their building. In December, a judge ruled in favor of Martina. However, the building owner re-filed a 60-day notice. Teresa’s case is expected to be heard in February. With the support of the Eastside local and Union de Vecinos, Martina and Teresa will continue to organize and fight against their forced displacement.
The membership of our South Central local has been growing substantially lately, thanks to the energetic atmosphere surrounding the Prop 10 campaign. Several members in the Baldwin Village area are in the process of starting a new local in Baldwin Village to split up the large geographic area of South Central. Recent organizing efforts have centered on organizing a tenants’ association (TA) at a mobile home park in Compton.
San Fernando Valley (SFV)
San Fernando Valley Local has been attending tenants’ rights workshops held by attorney Eric Castelblanco to spread the word about LATU and plans to host their own tenants’ rights workshops in the coming weeks. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The local is also looking for a new meeting location. Lauren Ilano, of SFV, asks if anyone has any leads on a suitable venue in the Valley to email her at email@example.com
Our Mid-City local has successfully organized its first tenants’ association. The TA’s building recently transferred ownership and, though the new ownership has yet to create any problems for the tenants, they were worried that they may face a crisis down the line because they’re in a development hotspot.
Northeast LA (NELo)
The rent strike and actions organized by the Ave 64 TA have largely been a success: long-term tenants have had their evictions and rent increases rescinded, and their corporate landlord has begun to address habitability issues. Sally Juarez has also won her long-fought eviction case, and will remain at her home. In November, NELo organizers helped tenants in two Lincoln Heights buildings — a total of 45 units — form a TA. There are three more buildings in the area owned by same owner, not under RSO. All buildings have habitability issues, and are facing rent increases. Members of the Waverly TA have unfortunately lost their eviction cases, but continue to run a campaign against the predatory practices of their landlord, Steven S. Taylor of Taylor Equities, crowned the city’s #1 worst landlord by Curbed.
Vermont y Beverly (VyBe)
VyBe reports on a building organizing against rent increases: Chinatown Building, one of many Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) apartment buildings across the city, will be losing its low-income covenant and rents will be going up for low-income families by $1000 in June, 2019. To the tenants, the massive rent increase amounts to an eviction notice, but they’re fighting back, and have formed Hill Side Villa Tenants Association, made up of 60 apartment units, out of the building’s approximately 140 units.