Housing Is A Human Right applauds the Los Angeles City Council for starting the process to urgently address a citywide eviction crisis that’s unfolding due to unscrupulous actions by landlords and notorious eviction attorney Dennis Block. But the L.A. City Council must quickly pass an emergency moratorium on evictions.
“We’re grateful to the L.A. City Council, especial councilmembers Nury Martinez, Mitch O’Farrell, Curren Price, and Gil Cedillo, for their leadership in protecting tenants against greedy landlords,” says Housing Is A Human Right Director René Christian Moya. “We urge the council to finalize the legislation and put it to a vote as soon as possible. Tenants have no time to spare.”
Before today’s L.A. City Council meeting, Housing Is A Human Right and a broad coalition of housing justice organizations held a press conference at City Hall to urge elected leaders to respond immediately to an emerging eviction crisis. Landlords in Los Angeles, and throughout California, are evicting scores of tenants as a callous response to the passage of AB 1482, the anti-rent gouging bill that Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed into law.
Controversial eviction attorney Dennis Block, who’s based in Los Angeles, has been especially responsible for fueling the eviction crisis. Block has publicly advised landlords to deliver no-fault evictions to long-time tenants and replace them with new tenants who must pay dramatically higher rents. Block’s heartless scheme is a way to increase rents before renter protections in AB 1482 start on January 1, 2020. Landlords are listening to him.
At the press conference today, Eviction Defense Network executive director and attorney Elena Popp said her legal clinic has been swamped by the eviction crisis. In recent days, she’s handled eviction cases for 37 buildings in the L.A. area.
“That’s 37 buildings,” said Popp. “Not 37 people.”
Gerson Sanchez, who spoke at the press conference, and his wife and two children live in a large apartment building in Los Angeles. He said that his landlord recently delivered eviction notices to everyone in the complex. Sanchez said he doesn’t know where he can find new affordable housing, and that his children are worried that they’ll become homeless.
“This situation has created a lot of stress,” said Sanchez.
At the L.A. City Council meeting, Councilmember Mike Bonin said the city is facing an eviction emergency. “The house is on fire,” he said. “We cannot allow people to be evicted.”
The recent actions by predatory landlords in L.A. and throughout California only underscore the serious need for much stronger renter protections. That includes statewide rent control.
Housing Is A Human Right and AIDS Healthcare Foundation are currently leading the effort to place the Rental Affordability Act, an initiative that will expand rent control in California, on the 2020 statewide ballot. Already, more than 500,000 signatures have been collected in support of the Rental Affordability Act.