ECHO PARK — The bungalow that Melina Vasquez rents is hard to spot from the street, with large trees obscuring her small home and nine others perched on a steep hillside that rises above the 1500 block of Sunset Boulevard. But an investor had no trouble finding the property, buying it December for $1.4 million and shortly after issuing eviction orders to Vasquez and the other tenants, according to the L.A. Times. Rent control law makes it difficult to evict tenants but, under the state’s Ellis Act, owners can evict tenants if they plan to demolish the apartments or take the units off the market.
With real estate prices and development picking up, so have the pace of Ellis Act evictions, says the Times. It’s not clear what Vasquez’ new landowners have in mind for the property, but next door a Canadian developer is planning to build more than 200 residential units and, down the street, penthouses at the renovated Elysian Lofts are going for up to $7,000 a month. Now, says the Times, Vasquez is wondering what to do:
Vasquez, 36, says the location of her $825-a-month bungalow is safer than other areas where her family can afford to live. A long staircase, shaded by leafy trees, extends from her hillside home and ends at Sunset Boulevard. It’s the only entrance to the complex.
At a bungalow farther down the hill, music hummed and neighbors grilled carne asada. Vasquez’s three daughters stood at her feet. Toys spread across their porch.
“Here,” Vasquez said in Spanish, “I feel secure with them.
“Where am I going to go?”
Landlords removed 478 apartments from the market last year – a fraction of the 678,000 units covered by the city’s rent control law but tenant rights’ activists fear the number will continue to grow as the real estate market continues to heat up.