Eagle Rock seniors fight rent hike in city-owned apartments

Reflectins on Yosemite senior apartments in Eagle Rock 8-9-2016 2-59-16 PM

Reflections on Yosemite

EAGLE ROCK — Living in a city-owned apartment building does not guarantee your rent won’t suddenly jump, according to a story in the Los Angeles Daily News.

A group of residents at Reflections on Yosemite — a residence for seniors and the disabled in the 1500 block of Yosemite Drive — are fighting the city over such a 6% hike. The increase is double the percentage of what the city has typically raised rents, Tina Smith-Booth from the L.A. Housing Authority told the Daily News.

But Smith-Booth added the city needs to keep up with market rents in the surrounding area. She said the average rent for a one-bedroom unit at Reflections is $747, whereas area rents for one-bedrooms in Eagle Rock are $1,375.

“The property doesn’t receive any federal or other assistance and therefore must operate on the rents it collects. … As with most landlords, rents are periodically increased to stay in line with increases in operating expenses.“
— Tina Smith-Booth, a director at Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles.

While rent control generally caps the annual rent increases at 3%, city officials told the Daily News the building isn’t subject to rent control, which is administered by the city.

But this argument does not do much good for residents,who say they may not be able to afford the higher rent.

One tenant, Alex Ortega, 70, questioned why the city is raising rents as it also seeks billions of dollars from voters to fund homeless programs.

“Are the elderly going to be included (in homeless programs)? If so, where will they be put? On the bottom of the list?”
— Alex Ortega, 70, resident of Reflections on Yosemite.

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  1. 6% is $45. Still a pretty good deal for a one bedroom apartment.

    • Low income housing in civilized cities is a percentage of income, between 20 and 30%. Market rates in LA means a senior receiving $1,000/month from Social Security pays $1,200/month for rent.

  2. You can bet their income didn’t go up 6% this year, and even if it did, they should not have to give all of that to the landlord.

    As for covering higher costs, that is BS. Maintenance is a pretty small percentage of the costs, less than 10%. The bulk of the costs are the mortgage and the property taxes, both of which are locked in, are not subject to inflation. But rent control allows an increase at the full rate of inflation. And here, the city won’t even settle for that?!

    It is BS to argue that the city must keep its rents up as other rents in the area skyrocket by far, far more than inflation! Just because others are gouging doesn’t mean the city should gouge.

    And I would like to hear WHY that building is not under rent control. I know the reasons why buildings are not, but they did not state the reason, and I am not going to presume it is a legal one. I do not put it beyond Garcetti to come up with some very strained interpretation to justify this rent hike at a building that maybe really is supposed to be under rent control. Garcetti has been far too devious and manipulative about housing issues from day one, and he is insane about grabbing money at every turn and at any cost no matter the impact of that.

  3. I’m guessing the reason it’s not rent controlled is because of the stupid law that says you aren’t protected if the building is built after 1979. They are putting the squeeze on the wrong people. Garcetti and Huizar need to make this right. It’s not a good look and voters will remember.

    • Public housing in NOT under rend control. The city simply wants to make as much money off their property as possible. Typical LA.

    • From a Daily News story, the building is pre-1978. It turns out the city apparently was claiming it was not under rent control because they are claiming none of the city housing is under rent control. But the lawyer for the tenants pointed out that actually, only city subsidized housing is exempt from rent control, and there are no subsidies for tenants in this building.

      Yesterday (Tuesday) the city relented and reduced the rent hikes to the 3% allowed under rent control.

  4. But Smith-Boom added the city needs to keep up with market rents in the surrounding area. “As with most landlords, rents are periodically increased to stay in line with increases in operating expenses.”

    Well, WHICH is it? Are you raising the rent to keep up with the market OR was there an increase in operating expenses? Those are two VERY different issues. Just, you know, clarify Ms. Smith-Boom.

    • huizar and cedlillo deny gentrification. the city simply wants to charge market rates. if you are low income, then lose all your savings and become poor, then you man get subsidized.

    • It was to keep up with the market – ala the Daily News.

  5. Total BS. I’m a landlord and I can only raise the rent 3 percent. I don’t understand why I can’t raise my rent 6 percent too. That building was built prior to 1978, so what is the excuse? Great landlords ( and I am one of them) are constantly up keeping our places and it IS expensive. This is why you see so many run down looking older apartments. If the city allowed us to raise the tents more that 3 percent, I would for sure spend more money on my apartment building. We are NOT ALL
    RICH corporations folks. A lot of us are mom and pop landlords trying our best to provide decent housing, but 3 percent just doesn’t cut it with everything going up, up, up!!!

    • I believe you are allowed to raise the rent an additional 1 % per included utility……

    • public housing in not under rent control. public housing for low income seniors must be based on percent of income and what market rates demand. landlords can rot in hell.

    • I’ll say it again – repeal prop 13 or sit down and stop whining. You benefit from 1978 just as much as we do.

    • The 3% limit (or as high as 10%, depending on the local inflation rate) is only for those who are making a lot of money off their buildings. If you are not making a minimum of 11% profit, you can apply to the city, show that, and you will be allowed to raise the rent as much as need to reach that level of profit.

      In addition, when a tenant movies out, you can skyrocket the rent to the moon if you want for the new tenant, no cap at all — that’s why rents have risen so much more than inflation, at more than double the rate of inflation.

      Any complaints about the rent hike cap not allowing for profits are just bankrupt arguments.

  6. We need a good insurrection – the government whether city, state or federal is out of control and they will justify anything.

  7. This is absolutely unacceptable. In the middle of a housing crisis, the city is going to raise rents on seniors about twice as much as a rent-stabilized unit could legally be raised. That is a huge jump for someone on a fixed income.

    Meanwhile, the mayor has been AWOL on the problem of burgeoning homelessness in the city, which has increased about a quarter over the last three years. The Garcettivilles that are springing up along freeway overpasses and streets like Echo Park’s Glendale Boulevard are very much linked to the housing crisis. It’s a shame that the city wants to jump on the bandwagon of skyrocketing rents.

    • this was all news to ben besley, vp of a private real estate development firm, at lastest HACLA meeting. the gangsters who run the city our out for market rates across the board. cannot afford it, be poor and get state and federal subsidy. low income on social security, move to palmdale.

    • @ samarkand, and the 3% cap is 50% more than the inflation rate. That 3% not only is the cap, it also is the floor — landlords never have to go below that; even when the inflation rate was below zero, was deflation, a few years back, they wee able to raise rents 3%. It is now running about 2% and below for several years, but they keep getting 3% — inflation has not been up near 3% for a decade. And the landlords just complain all he way to the bank.

    • I’m not the biggest fan of Garcetti… but I think you’re being rather disingenuous about his efforts on the matter. He’s done more than most in local politics to address the housing crisis. Garcetti’s one of the biggest proponents this city’s ever seen for zoning reform to allow for much needed development of new housing by right; his 2016 budget has millions earmarked for homeless housing and services; and he’s a big supporter of the $1.2B homeless measure that’ll be on November’s ballot.

  8. Smith-Boden states that the City must keep up with market rents in the surrounding area. This argument is only logical when talking about why rents must remain low; it is about competition. At the current Reflections on Yosemite rental rates, turnover must be very low, and turnover is one of the biggest expenses for landlords.

    In addition, how ridiculous to say that Reflections rent must be comparable to the surrounding area where reportedly the average one-bedroom rent is $1,375.00 per month.

    The story mentions that there are disabled people included as tenants; are they paying the same rent as the non-disabled renters? Or are they subsidized by the State?

    • absolute and complete nonsense. this is public housing for low income seniors, civilized cities charge percent of income, LA charges market rates. why. the city if run by gangsters and the housing authority is run by a private real estate developer.

    • According the the Daily News, no one there is getting a subsidy, It is NOT subsidized housing.

  9. Tina Booth’s statement is a lie. Reflections on Yosemite is heavily government subsidized, half the occupants are on Second Chance programs. Mixing reformed drug addicts with senior citizens. Which is why we need 24/7 security.

  10. This article is teed up for a lot of irate comments (and has succeeded). But it must be said that around $750 for a one bedroom apartment is a heck of a deal. How did it get so low? Were the standard increases deferred in years past? The article only discusses the most recent increase.

    • No, that is all anyone would pay for rent if rents had gone up by the inflation rate. The tenants moved in at “affordable housing” rent level, and have been raised at the inflation rate ever since.

      The difference you are seeing between what they are paying and what a new tenant has to pay is the failure of rent control, which allows landlord to skyrocket rent to the moon for a new tenant.

  11. H.A.C.L.A.(Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles) would be the manager of the L.A. City owned Reflections apartment complex in Eagle Rock.
    Their operating costs tend to increase at a rate greater than operating costs for similar properties owned and managed in the private sector.
    This is due to overpriced contracts for maintenance, supplies and security services which are rigged for the benefit of connected insiders.
    H.A.C.L.A. also tends to generate a higher than average number of lawsuits which result in jury awards or pre-trial settlements which the City is obligated to pay. These run from employee harrasment and illegal termination claims and lawsuits from tenants claiming sexual harrasment and/or assault by bldg. managers, maintenance contractors, security personnel.
    A 6% rent increase probably doesn’t even cover H.A.C.L.A.’s rising expenses.

  12. Bruce Brook Pfeiffer

    Reading that city owned public housing isn’t subject to rent control only strengthens my belief that rent control is a strange and f’ed up thing. Why on earth are private property owners required to subsidize the lives of their tenants when the city isn’t required to do the same? If some people need assistance with their living expenses, as I certainly agree some people do, why doesn’t society as a whole foot the bill for such assistance. How is if fair that individual property owners have to shoulder the burden alone?

    • Anyone else have any other ideas on how we can turn this into a discussion about poor, overburdened landlords?

    • According tot he Daily News, apparently only SUBSIDIZED city housing is not subject to rent control. But this building is not subsidized, and no one there gets a subsidy – it apparently is covered under rent control, and yesterday the city relented and rolled the rent hikes back to the rent control level, which itself is more than the inflation rate..

  13. Thank you Eastsider and LA Daily News. I am the publisher of the Boulevard Sentinel. We ran a story about the Art Snyder apartments right next door to Reflections two issues ago, in June. After that story ran I began receiving phone calls from residents of Reflections. I have since had a couple of meetings with Jose Huizar’s field deputies and we have been able to get a few of the ‘smaller’ issues addressed, but the rent issue is still out there.
    I believe it is important for the independent press to keep this issue in the forefront of our coverage of the local area. Again, thank you Eastsider for putting this out there, and let’s both make sure this issue continues to get the coverage it deserves

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