LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Dion Legge is one of the 58,000 people who are homeless in Los Angeles.  He lost the job he had for five years selling tools, then injured his back in a car accident.  He managed to put a few bucks together and bought a tent trailer.

“Healthwise it’s better than being out on the street,” Legge said.

Legge may be better off than others who rent their RVs rather than own them.

A city lawmaker says homeless are being taking advantage by unscrupulous abandoned RV owners.

L.A. City Councilmember Mitchell Englander says it begins with RVs and trailers that are towed away by the city because they aren’t registered, don’t run and are usually in terrible shape.

“I would say this is the newest crop of beyond slumlords,” Englander said.  “Then we have these slumlords that are buying them from the auctions and salvage yards, they tow them back to locations and rent them out and prey on the most vulnerable in society.”

Councilmember Englander says these so-called “slumlords” will buy a trashed RV for $50 then rent them to the homeless for $10 a day.

Some of the vehicles have been seen to have rats, cockroaches and sewage. The septic tanks aren’t operational, they don’t have running water and are a fire hazard.

Englander says there’s nothing illegal about buying wrecks and renting them out — at least not yet.  He has introduced a motion that would criminalize the practice.

“We’re coming after you,” he says.  “It’s got to stop. You’re preying on those who are most vulnerable. We’re closing those loopholes but we’re also coming after you.”

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