Protesters Rally Against Rent Hikes, Call Housing A ‘Human Right’

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Dozens of housing activists took to the steps of City Hall on Friday in protest of proposed rent hikes to rent-controlled housing unites.

An estimated 80 members of the Los Angeles Right to Housing Collective called on lawmakers to amend the city law that governs how much landlords can raise rents each July.

Protesters wearing bright orange shirts and carrying signs that read “The rent is too damn high” rallied along First Street in front of City Hall this morning before marching into council chambers to give public comment.

“Housing is a human right and the city has failed in its duty to protect the human right to housing,” said Becky Dennison, an organizer with the Collective.

“It’s the one-year anniversary of (the council’s) failure to pass a rent freeze and unleashing police violence against tenants. So we’re here to say: It’s been a year, you’ve still done nothing, and we’re not scared to come in here and challenge you.”

Almost exactly one year ago, on May 21, 2010, the council declined to vote on an ordinance that would have prevented rent increases for four months during the down economy.

Instead the council sent the ordinance back to committees for further research.

The decision prompted angry outbursts from tenant advocates, which led Councilman Dennis Zine, who was presiding over the council at the time, to call for their removal from the chamber. Some scuffles broke out, prompting the LAPD
to call for backup.

Under the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, rent on rent-control properties can go up annually by an amount equal to or smaller than the percentage increase in the U.S. Consumer Price Index for that year. The goal is to tie rent increases to the overall health of the economy.

However, the ordinance also has a “floor” that requires landlords to increase the rent a minimum of 3 percent and a maximum of 8 percent.

That means when the CPI is below 3 percent or in negative territory, as it was last year, landlords can still raise the rent 3 percent each year on July 1.

Councilman Richard Alarcon, who introduced the motion last year to freeze the rent hikes for a period of time, said today that it’s still worth trying to prevent hikes on July 1.

“The renters of Los Angeles are still suffering in a bad economy. They’re still having to pay high rents,” Alarcon said.

Many of the demonstrators directed their anger today toward Councilman Herb Wesson, who chairs the committee that has been reviewing the Rent Stabilization Ordinance since 2010.

Andrew Westall, a staffer for Wesson, said the committee has not been ignoring the issue for the last year. He said there were problems with the broader ordinance and added that he expected it to come back before Council in the next two months.

The new ordinance will not include a rent freeze but will lower the minimum rent increase to 2 percent.

Several landlords told the council council they oppose changes to the ordinance, asserting that the economy affects them as well.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. Ron says:

    Housing is a human right? What about the thousands of people that have lost their homes in foreclosure and/or their jobs? Get these welfare freeloaders out of here. They are NEVER thankful for what they have been GIVEN and are too damn LAZY to work. They think they are entitled to be given everything.

  2. Ann says:

    I agree with you Ron. I love how leftist activists invent rights that did not exist in the past. Moreover, where do these so-called rights come from?

  3. ALMA PARKS says:

    RENTS ARE TO HIGH, EVEN IN THE VERY OLD 40’S BUILDINGS HERE IN THE SAN FERNANDO VALLEY’S NO-HO ARTS DISTRICT. THE OLDER THEY ARE THE LESS THEY SHOULD COST TO LIVE IN. RENTER’S WHO STAY FOR MANY YEARS IN A PLACE SHOULD REALLY RECEIVE LOWER RENTS. WE ARE CAUSING THE GREAT, GREAT HOMELESS GROWTH BECAUSE THE RENTS ARE TO HIGH!!! THE OWENER’S ARE VERY GREEDY, DO NOT DO WELL WITH UP KEEP, DO NOT GET INVOLVED IN ASSURING THE QUALITY FOR ALL THAT ARE IN THESE STACKER’S. YOU HAVE TO DO MORE THAN JUST TAKE RENT FOR THE SPACE, THEY MUST BE INGAGED WITH THE WELFARE OF THE TENENTS THEY TAKE FROM. MY PLACE AT 11054 OTSEGO ST. #4 IN NORTH HOLLYWOOD WAS $495, A MONTH IN 1997, I TOOK IT BECAUSE IT WAS ALL I COULD AFFORD. NOW I STRUGGLE TO PAY THE RENT, IT IS NOW 80 % OF MY TAKE HOME OF $1000.00 EVERY TWO WEEKS , I AM LEFT WITH BARLEY 250.OO EA. PAY PERIOD TO TAKE CARE OF MY NECESSARY NEEDS. I HAVE A JOB WORKING FOR DCFS, I AM 60YRS OLD AND IT THIS KEEPS GOING ON , I WILL BE HOMELESS TOO, BUT I STILL HAVE A JOB,LIVING OUT OF A CAR. GIVE SECTION 8 HELP TO THOSE WHO WORK,AT LEAST THEY CAN RECYCLE THE MONEY BACK INTO HELPING THE HOUSING SYSTEM! STATE AND CITY GOVERNMENT MUST STOP THE HOMELESSNESS!!! I TRULY THINK YOUR GOING TO PUSH SOCIETY INTO A REAL STREET RIOT ONE DAY AND A CITY BURNING. MAKE THE CHANGES NOW!! EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE CUT BACK!! AND WE NEED TO START A NEW. PLEASE,

    1. Ron says:

      Alma, I am sorry to hear of your plight. Have you checked into any senior housing options? You may be able to live in a senior community for a reduced price. That does not mean it has to be a care home, which you probably don’t need anyway. Senior apartments are for independent living and tend to be well kept. Check in the papers for ads for senior apts. Or if there is a senior center nearby, go talk to them about any senior apts., that they know of.

      Good luck, I hope you find something.

  4. sd says:

    Obviously Ron and Ann don’t live in LA. These people are not freeloaders; they simply want reasonable rents, not the astronomical ones that gobble up over 50% of people’s incomes.

    1. sunnie Han says:

      What about someone under rent control paying $900 for a 2 bed room that could rent for $1,500 with out rent control

      1. Holly says:

        Where in L.A. is there a 2 bdrm apt for $900? And if it exists, it must be really funky and in a terribly undesirable neighborhood whereby it would not command a $1500/month price. You’re dreaming.

    2. Ron says:

      You’re right sd, I do NOT live in L.A., I live in the O.C., where homes and rents are VERY expensive.

      As I said before, many people have lost their homes and jobs in THIS economy, and they don’t get a hand out for their place to live.

      If you can’t afford it, then move to another state or the inland empire, where rents are much CHEAPER.

      Taxpayers should NOT have to help PAY your rent, it is NOT a HUMAN right.

  5. Scott Scheffer says:

    Lazy?! You’re turning reality upside down! It’s the greedy landlords that are lazy. Renters are people who work in the hospitals, the fields, educate your children, pave the streets, and do everything else that’s of any value. I say jail the coporate bosses and greedy landlords! They’re guilty of gouging the rest of us while the economy is down! They’re a bunch of extortionists!

  6. dan says:

    you protest rent hikes….but not tax hikes..????

  7. Cruiser says:

    If landlords are stuck with how much they could raise rents because of rent controls, others should be limited on how much they could charge landlords. The city should be limited on what percent they could raise on the water bill, sewer, trash and property taxes on landlords. Landlords owning property in a rent control district should get a special tax break to help off set the rising cost of doing business in a rent control district.

  8. holly says:

    I just laugh when I read these comments left by landlords. They’re making plenty of profit on their buildings, since the housing bubble effects. They treat long term tenants terribly, doing as little as possible in repairs and maintenance, just making it as unpleasant as they can so they’ll move—so they can charge whatever they want for the apt. Long term tenants are joked about, and are put on the “kill list”, apparently.
    So don’t get out your violins for the landlords; they’re doing just fine. Sure, they have the costs involved, but it’s all part of owning property. In the end, they make a lot of profit, and a very good living from it. So, please, I don’t want to see any more whining landlords on here. Give me a break.

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