Welcome to the tenth issue of The Tenant! Each issue features updates from LATU locals about recent goings-on in their neighborhood. We hope this will foster solidarity and communication across LATU citywide. If you’d like your local represented in the next issue, please send a 100-word blurb describing what you’ve been up to for the past month as a local to email@example.com.
— Los Angeles Tenants Union media committee
The Tenant Protection Act (AB 1482) was signed by Governor Newsom on October 8. It protects California tenants who are not covered under a rent-stabilization ordinance from rent-gouging. The bill provides a 5% rent cap annually plus 1–3% CPI (Consumer Price Index), but the total rent increase cannot exceed 10% annually. It also includes a just-cause provision: no-fault evictions require relocation assistance in the form of one month’s rent. Buildings that are over 15 years old are exempted on a rolling basis, as are single-family homes owned by mom-and-pop landlords. The effective date of the bill is January 1, 2020, which leaves a gaping loophole for landlords to take advantage and evict tenants. Even before the bill passed, tenants across the state were reporting that they were receiving no-fault 60-day notices, and some landlords were citing AB 1482 for the reason to evict. LATU members, legal representatives and other tenant organizations flew into action demanding that LA City Council adopt an emergency rent freeze and moratorium on evictions. We won, and the moratorium passed on October 22nd! That means tenants currently in eviction proceedings, or in possession of a 60-day notice to vacate can stay in their homes, and their evictions are null and void. Now we need to continue to put pressure on our elected officials to recognize housing as a human right, and to scrap the Ellis Act and Costa-Hawkins entirely.
The tenants of Dorset Village United recently threw a barbecue to celebrate the formation of their new TA (tenants’ association), and to reclaim the common space in their complex. It was a big success and they’re planning to host monthly barbecues from now on! We’ve been supporting a building of tenants on 92nd St. who recently met to draft a letter demanding habitable conditions, and are discussing forming a TA. We’ve also been supporting two buildings on the border of Gardena and Harbor Gateway, and a 100+ unit building in Downey, all hit by the 60-day notice wave. Luckily tenants in all three buildings want to organize, stay, and fight!
Union de Vecinos Eastside
In September, the UV-Eastside Local organized a march against evictions. Eviction of long-time member Martina Gallegos was set for early October, and members of the local prepared to occupy the apartment in resistance. Continual delays in court processes disrupted occupation plans, but we held a vigil for the displaced with support from LATU and residents of Boyle Heights. We held another vigil the night before Martina and her husband became unhoused. The Oso-Lopez family is still fighting their Ellis Act eviction. These fights may be a tipping point in Boyle Heights to escalate the struggle and demand an end to all evictions.
Northeast LA (NELo)
Our local has seen a deluge of new tenants who have been hit with the 60-day offensive: retaliatory no-fault evictions issued ahead of AB 1482 — a state-wide tenant protections bill — going into effect in January. Now that the emergency moratorium on evictions is in effect and these landlords have shown their cards, we’re working with these folks to organize their buildings and are helping to form a couple of new TAs. Our local plans to spend a generous chunk of each meeting for the rest of the year reflecting on our priorities, and finding ways to best serve tenants in crisis while growing the strength, confidence, and solidarity amongst our long-term members.
We have been concentrating our efforts on two senior complexes that have been served with eviction notices or have numerous habitability issues. The residents of Good Shepherd Manor in Leimert Park were all served with rent increases of $700 in April, and we are informing them that they are prime candidates for the rollback of rents due to AB1482. We’re also working with the tenants of West Los Angeles Villas who have considerable habitability issues and have been consistently faced with rising rent in spite of this fact. We are also working with a new TA called The Palmwood Association as well as four individual renters that have come to us in crisis.
Members partook in HCIDLA’s Section 8 training, supported the Dorset Village tenants at their barbecue, tabled at a community resource fair for the Tessie Cleveland organization, and participated in the two-day “Renters Stand” event in Inglewood.