Quantcast

Tenants in Highland Park rent strike lose crucial court battle

HIGHLAND PARK – Bad news for some residents at the Marmion Royal Apartments. A judge has rejected their claim of discrimination by the management company, according to the L.A. Times. This clears the way for tenants to be evicted in the wake of redevelopment.

“There is no evidence of disparate treatment.” — Superior Court Judge Rupert A. Byrdsong

This ruling means eviction for five tenants who had received eviction notices in May, right after Skya Ventures bought the building for $14.3 million.

Other tenants at Marmion Royal began a rent strike later that year after finding out their rents will skyrocket as the building gets remodeled. This latest ruling also impacts eviction cases that are still pending against many of these other residents.

While the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance limits rent increases to 3% for multi-unit buildings constructed before 1978, the Marmion Royal was built in 1987, and is not covered by this law.

Capture
The Eastsider’s Daily email digest includes all new content published on The Eastsider during the last 24 hours. Expect the digest to land in your in email in box around 7 p.m. It’s free to sign up!

Once you submit your information, please check your email box to confirm your subscription.




Eastsider Advertising

19 comments

  1. Rent control should be for ALL apartments! They are discriminAting against older BUILDINGS!!!

  2. I feel very sad for the tenants. How do people become homeless, again?

    The kicker is that Keith Wasserman, partner in the takeover of the apartments along with his father and wife, has been tweeting and retweeting jibes at Trump on his Twitter account, @Keith_Wasserman.

    Keith, why do you want to emulate Trump by evicting low-income, and many times nonwhite families?

  3. People pay rent in exchange for an apartment. No rents = no apartments. Nice try for the rent strikers but the party is over. Bye.

  4. In a previous story, it was mentioned that the tenants were advised to pool their rents into a trust fund. Wonder if they did, and if so, do they get their money back. I’d keep a close eye on the lawyer who set it up if I were them.

  5. Well a black judge determined that there was no case of discrimination so that old falsity is put to rest.

    The law is the law the tenants should have educated themselves on the implications of living in an Ellis exempt housing.
    The real criminal here is the Alliance who directed them not to pay rent, absolutely ALL of the tenants were originally offered relocation fees, as per law.
    They decided to put trust in activist with no grasp of reality.
    The lawyer took the case and probably walks away with some per diem and the tenants are now left with an eviction on their record and no relocation fees.

    • Let me address your comments point by point:

      1. This is like saying Ben Carson is black, and since he will serve in the Trump cabinet, Trump is not discriminatory.

      2. Expecting low-income tenants, or anybody else, to have mastery of housing law is a bit smug. The Ellis Act that you refer to does not even pertain to this case as the landlords are not going out of business. This is LARSO-exempt housing (LARSO as in the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance).

      3. Relocation assistance can amount to several thousand dollars depending on the tenant, but can be eaten up in just a few months when having to pay market rents amidst LA’s housing shortage, while having to compete with the influx of wealthier people into our communities, and what those people are willing and able to pay.

      4. Yours is a completely subjective statement, but note that we would still have child labor, adulterated food, 6-day work weeks, and no tenant housing rights at all if it hadn’t been for activism.

      5. The attorney who took their case does not charge a per diem fee. If this case went through the Eviction Defense Network (which the attorney is associated with), clients are charged on a flat-fee basis, on a sliding scale according to income. Legal Aid does cases for free, but they are only able to handle a tiny amount of the thousands of eviction cases filed in Los Angeles each year. If the tenants lose their appeal, and there is no settlement beforehand, then yes, it is true that they will have an eviction on their record and lose their relocation assistance. You have just highlighted an injustice in the system: you have to risk something that will make it difficult to find housing in the future — and to afford to pay for it for a few months — just for standing up for your rights.

      In general, your comments attempt to deny agency to the tenants. It’s as if you take the view that low-income people should normally be content to just be (literally) pushed around. I think you’ll find in the coming years that more and more people are going to be standing up for their rights, and that the days of wealth having an outsized influence in determining the direction of our communities and our nation are numbered.

      • this is a good eastsider comment.

      • I don’t think it’s fair to say that the tenants have been “pushed around.” It’s not pleasant to be evicted from one’s home – and in some cases it may be traumatic – but if the new owners offered relocation fees that they weren’t required to offer, and if the owners are not breaking any of the tenants’ leases, I don’t think it’s fair to claim that they’re pushing anyone around.

        One reason people from all around the world immigrate to the U.S. is because of the economic opportunities that our free-market system provides. Along with the benefits come some very ugly side effects, such as these evictions. If people disagree with these owners’ actions, I think a better tactic would be to use the rules of the free market against them: encourage potential new residents to boycott the apartments, inform anyone who does business with (or funds) these investors that their reputation will suffer if they continue to do business with them, and even protest (peacefully) in front of any social organizations they belong to.

      • And ….I will address your hyperbolic attempt discredit the facts I laid before you. .
        You wrote:
        Let me address your comments point by point:

        1. This is like saying Ben Carson is black, and since he will serve in the Trump cabinet, Trump is not discriminatory.
        -Quite a leap from comparing a sitting judge who deals with tenant housing on the daily to a person who hasn’t even assumed duties in an administration that hasn’t even taken office yet, but it’s an easy popular tagline so you can have that enormous leap of logic.

        2. Expecting low-income tenants, or anybody else, to have mastery of housing law is a bit smug. The Ellis Act that you refer to does not even pertain to this case as the landlords are not going out of business. This is LARSO-exempt housing (LARSO as in the Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance).
        -LARSO is an Ordinance that works in accordance with the Ellis Act, in this case of this property the two are not mutually exclusive. It is pretty simple , this property is exempt. Education is smug? Is that something they taught you in your schooling? Little INFO I am not against low income housing or tenants rights. My comment simply states the advice was terrible and the legal approach was negligent at the very least. I was a tenant for most of my adult life and have been gentrified several times. Educating yourself on your living condition aka LEASE is as imperative as monitoring your health, the result of not doing so is on display with this whole debacle. People wonder how a welfare state begins, it starts with people capitulating to the idea that some people are not educated enough to understand basic concepts and being ok with that. ,That my friend is far worse in the long run and on it’s face insulting to the very people you are championing . Take the idea of feeding someone fish or teaching them how to fish, aka Jesus.

        3. Relocation assistance can amount to several thousand dollars depending on the tenant, but can be eaten up in just a few months when having to pay market rents amidst LA’s housing shortage, while having to compete with the influx of wealthier people into our communities, and what those people are willing and able to pay.
        -so no money at all is better than a relocation fee that could have definitely found housing? If the tenants were so close to the margins then they are available for government assistance , if they are legal residents and or if they have kids born in the USA . Again this is about self perseverance and this is why these legal moves were so appalling, this people thought and were told they had a chance.

        4. Yours is a completely subjective statement, but note that we would still have child labor, adulterated food, 6-day work weeks, and no tenant housing rights at all if it hadn’t been for activism.
        -Exempt is a very simple concept. NEVER said Activism was a bad thing . Using tenants as a vehicle of expression to highlight the housing crises is malicious when they know there is good chance they are going to lose. That is not activism , that is short sightedness and poor legal judgement.

        5. The attorney who took their case does not charge a per diem fee. If this case went through the Eviction Defense Network (which the attorney is associated with), clients are charged on a flat-fee basis, on a sliding scale according to income. Legal Aid does cases for free, but they are only able to handle a tiny amount of the thousands of eviction cases filed in Los Angeles each year. If the tenants lose their appeal, and there is no settlement beforehand, then yes, it is true that they will have an eviction on their record and lose their relocation assistance. You have just highlighted an injustice in the system: you have to risk something that will make it difficult to find housing in the future — and to afford to pay for it for a few months — just for standing up for your rights.

        -your right I highlighted an injustice. nothing to see here. BTW probably is not and never will be an assertion.

        In general, your comments attempt to deny agency to the tenants. It’s as if you take the view that low-income people should normally be content to just be (literally) pushed around. I think you’ll find in the coming years that more and more people are going to be standing up for their rights, and that the days of wealth having an outsized influence in determining the direction of our communities and our nation are numbered.

        -Don’t even know where to start with this edict of fallibilty.
        I’m denying agency to the tenants? More like the tenants had agency that fd them real good, far greater than the landlord offered.
        Low income people should be pushed around? How you can ascertain that encouraging people to educate themselves on the most basic necessity of shelter is pushing people around is the stuff “safe spaces” are made of. Have you completely gone mad? I believe everyone has the capacity to read or have someone read for them, no words. The property lease discloses all legal aspects of this , if it didn’t they wouldn’t be in this situation.

        *Finally: ” the days of wealth having an outsized influence in determining the direction of our communities and our nation are numbered.”
        – This is a delusional statement, you obvious are coming from the arm chair activist side of things on this or you haven’t been privy to the future plans of Boyle Heights or the 6th street bridge. See the major fault of activist in LA is they attack the leaves rather than the roots. Steering the right Corporations who sit to gain from the good publicity of activism towards housing and community programs are far easier than hoping and praying for a revolution that is never coming. Get BIG money into community on your behest and steer it with activism/ parcipation in neighborhood and city councils.

        • Citizen X,
          Please elaborate on this statement:

          “See the major fault of activist in LA is they attack the leaves rather than the roots. Steering the right Corporations who sit to gain from the good publicity of activism towards housing and community programs are far easier than hoping and praying for a revolution that is never coming. Get BIG money into community on your behest and steer it with activism/ parcipation in neighborhood and city councils.”

          Specifically, how do you suggest that cultural communities utilize “BIG money” from within. How do they deploy activism/ participation in neighborhood and city councils to “steer” big money?

  6. How could it have gone any other way?

  7. I’m very sad the tenants did not win this case. I’m supportive of their appeal. In addition, there should definitely be a boycott of the “new” building by any tenants. Hit Wasserman and Galena where it hurts, make it a marked building where potential renters are made vocally aware of the displacement that went on in that building and the court case, and if they can’t get tenants, it will push them to lower rents or lose income.

    • I am sorry it’s not going to work. You can boycott all you want, but people want housing. People want to move here and live. It’s not like boycotting a restaurant.

  8. If you read the “crucial” court battle, it was a discrimation lawsuit. It’s pretty obvious that the residents didn’t want to pay rent. It’s a good thing they lost otherwise anyone would say “im being discriminated against” and not pay their rent.

  9. a penny a day makes sense

    As an immigrant and renter, I just don’t understand why renters tend to view their apartment as a permanent home? In some cases it works out but renters should always be aware that the building can be sold any day and an eviction or rent hike could come out of nowhere. Just saying…

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *

*