April 27, 2010


Los Angeles Right to Housing Collective Fights for Tenant Rights

City Council made tenants wait over five hours before declining to vote on a moratorium against rent increases. Instead, Council President Eric Garcetti introduced a motion to send the issue back to committee.  The motion passed 10-5, essentially ensuring rents will go up for most tenants on July 1st.   The only votes in favor of tenant rights were Councilmembers Alarcon, Hahn, Huizar, Krekorian and Wesson.

When tenants voiced their anger, frustration and disappointment by chanting loudly in Council Chambers, Acting President Dennis Zine ordered Los Angeles Police Department to remove tenants from council.  About 30 LAPD officers began roughly forcing tenants out of Council chambers. One Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) member was forced to the ground against a wall by several officers, his tee shirt ripped almost in two, and another was hog tied after being roughly pulled to the ground by his neck. Another disabled female LA CAN member was arrested solely for shouting at Council that this was all Council’s fault.  More than five hours later, all are still being detained and LAPD claim they are being “processed.”

City Council spent the first two and a half hours of the meeting giving out ceremonial awards, making hundreds of people who had come to Council wait. Although the chambers were 90% filled with people interested in the moratorium, on either side of the issue, Council heard several other items before finally hearing the item.  The measure would have suspended an automatic 3% rent increase for four months, with an exemption for “mom and pop” landlords.

Tenants asked for this relief because the rent increase, usually based on the Consumer Price Index, was negative 0.6 last year and so they did not believe landlords should be entitled to an increase. In the 25 years since the 3% “floor” was enacted, the CPI has been under 3% eleven times, thus giving landlords a rent increase regardless of inflation.  As low-income people are facing cuts in wages and benefits, unemployment, hikes in bus fares and DWP costs, and more, a rent increase may just be the final push, forcing families into the streets.