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February 4, 2009

Tenants Oppose Proposal to Allow Easier Evictions for Landlords

 

(From left to right: CES Tenant Organizer Joel Montano, CES Tenant Leader David Chavarria, CES Tenant Leader Rosalba Chavarria, CES Tenant Organizer Lourdes Soto & CES Tenant Organizer Felipa Soto Attend a LA City Council to oppose a proposal to weaken tenant just cause eviction protections)


Under the guise of expressing concern for the safety of tenants threatened by illegal drug-related activity, LA City Council Member Bernard Parks, who’s known as the point person for landlord groups on the City Council, authored a motion calling for the weakening of existing eviction protections that require landlords to list tenant witnesses when evicting for drug activities and other nuisance issues.

Parks claims that landlords have a difficult time getting tenants to come forward as witnesses in fear of retaliation from the accused drug dealer.

On the surface this may appear to be a reasonable proposal. But, his motion came under fierce attack from CES tenant leaders, other tenants and tenants’ rights advocates and attorneys who testified before the City Council Housing, Community Economic & Development Committee on February 4, 2009, that the motion denies accused tenants their constitutional due process rights and undermines their ability to defend themselves against who could be bogus charges.

Tenants and advocates expressed great concern that the motion would provide the ability for landlords to fabricate claims that low rent tenants, those that complain about substandard conditions or tenants leaders of tenant associations were allegedly drug dealers in order to evict them so they can jack up rents.

The Council Committee instructed the LA Housing Department to further study the issue, consider the concerns raised and bring back a proposal shortly.


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