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Morning Brief: Unpermitted Housing, Masks At Work, And Leaving LA

At this Mid-City apartment complex, tenants faced eviction threats during the pandemic.
(Al Kamalizad
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Good morning, L.A. It’s June 3.

As California prepares to reopen almost completely on June 15, some Angelenos are still coping with a stress they endured throughout the pandemic: living in unpermitted buildings, where landlords frequently disregard tenants’ mental and physical health.

As my colleague David Wagner reports in a new investigation, there are illegal, unpermitted residences across the city. Those who offer such units as rentals ignore laws and housing regulations, putting their residents at risk.

In a building on Washington Blvd. in Mid-City where David got to know several tenants, problems such as bugs, dangerous wires and power outages plagued residents.

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“God forbid somebody uses the microwave,” said tenant Kamisha Nafarrete, referring to power outages during hot months. “The whole thing shuts off … It made us wonder, Is there something wrong with the power? Will this catch fire?

During the pandemic, the building’s landlord threatened residents with eviction, despite the eviction moratoriums in place at the local, state and federal levels. Tenants were able to ward him off, but haven’t been able to get him to fix the myriad problems in their units — and the city isn’t helping much.

David’s story is the first in a three-part investigation of unpermitted residences throughout the city. The next two installments will publish today and tomorrow.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the city's 2021-22 budget, which includes more money for LAPD and $1 billion for homelessness.
  • Given the current rate of vaccinations, L.A. isn’t likely to reach herd immunity until August.
  • California health officials will review and likely vote today on new COVID-19 workplace regulations.

Before You Go ... More Angelenos Want To Leave LA

A glittering nighttime view of downtown L.A.'s skyscrapers taken from Griffith Park
The Los Angeles skyline is seen from Griffith Observatory on April 18, 2020.
(Apu Gomes
AFP via Getty Images)

In a new survey of L.A. residents, 10% of respondents said they're planning to move out of L.A. County in the next year. The results mark a 40% increase from 2019.

Researchers at USC spoke with 1,800 residents over a two-month period to gauge their feelings about life in L.A. The survey asked about satisfaction with neighborhoods, housing, exposure to crime and more. Based on those factors, Angelenos reported being less satisfied with their lives than other Californians and Americans.

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