Could rent spike force mariachis out of Boyle Heights?

BOYLE HEIGHTS — Some mariachis say they’re being priced out of the neighborhood, according to Curbed LA and LA Weekly.

The Weekly reports on a pair of brothers – third-generation mariachis – who are suddenly facing a precipitous rent increase. Luis and Enrique Valdivia live in a building (home to eight other mariachis) that turns out not to be covered by rent control. They just got a notice that their rent is going up nearly 80% – from $1,020 a month to $1,825.

One of their neighbors – 62-year-old Pedro Zúñiga – also got a letter from Crescent Canyon Management of Culver City – upping the rent for his one-bedroom from $945 to $1,495.

Meanwhile, organized efforts to resist the rent spike are growing, according to Curbed, including protests and refusal to pay the increases.

Why are so many mariachis getting hit? The building where rent increases have struck happens to be close to Mariachi Plaza, where musicians sometimes line up, ready to be hired.

It’s not the first time that mariachi’s have been under pressure to move out of the Boyle Heights. When the landmark Boyle Hotel across from Mariachi Plaza was renovated into affordable housing, many of the mariachis who once lived there never came back or could not afford the new rents.

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