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New Landlord Doesn't Feel Like Housing Poor People Anymore, Tenants Say

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The tenants of Mid-City apartment complex say they are facing eviction after the new property owners told them they don't feel like dealing with Section 8 anymore. Catherine Green has lived in her 43-unit apartment, Boulevard Villa, at Crenshaw and Venice Boulevards for over 30 years, according to Capital & Main. Tanya Rhodes has lived with her disabled daughter in the same building for 22 years. Louis Gates, a Vietnam vet, has been there for about five. However, the building's new owner, Lafayette Square Apartments LLC, sent out a letter evicting Boulevard Villa's tenants. The tenants say the letter also stated that the new owners decided they didn't want to bother with Section 8 anymore.

According to tenant organizer Leilani Zachary, Boulevard Villa doesn't have to comply with Los Angeles' Rent Stabilization Ordinance or California's Ellis Act, which would make it illegal for them to hike rents excessively or boot tenants without cause. The apartment was built in 1984, and these rules only apply to housing built prior to 1978. To make matters worse, the new owners are not giving them any money to relocate, something that would be required were RSO or the Ellis Act in play.

Many of these tenants, several of whom are retired, are low-income and will have nowhere to go. Zachary said. "These people don't have the money to move."

The renters protested their evictions on Saturday, but they say the on-site manager asked them to get off the property. The renters also looked to their City Councilman, Herb Wesson, for help by showing up at a Council meting. However, they said that they haven't received a response from the City or Wesson. A spokeswoman at the L.A. Housing Authority told Capital & Main in an email that tenants in non-RSO buildings would, as a rule, not be protected against eviction. (It's not clear how much longer renters have before they must vacate.)

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The tenants are having another rally on May 3, and there's a GoFundMe account set up to raise funds for relocation.

In Santa Monica, a landlord tried to evict her long-term tenants, only to be sued by the City for "tenant harassment." Another Santa Monica landlord was sued by the City after taking away a tenant's disabled space in an alleged attempt to force her to move.

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