Gentrification: here come the rich tenants

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

Commentary May 1, 2019

CALIFORNIA MOVES TO GUT

SINGLE FAMILY HOMES

Single Family homeowners fought for good reason against the passage of Prop 10 because parts of the Prop 10 sought rent control regulation of single family homes. I imagine that Mayor Garcetti is saying, “We gotta make sure we get these poor people out of these neighborhoods before the Olympics get here in 2028,” So now, the legislature is saying that if you did not want some regulation, now we will take away your home altogether. And that is the purpose of SB 50. You’ll have to google it for all the details but in summary the bill proposes a MINIMUM density state wide of no less than four units per parcel and prohibits single family and two family zoning in the entire state of California.  The only exceptions are (a) very severe fire hazard zones that have not adopted mitigants and (b) coastal zone cities with less than 50,000 inhabitants.  So Malibu, Del Mar, Mendocino, Eureka, Hermosa Beach, Laguna Beach, Carmel, Crescent City, Cambria, Pismo Beach, etc are exempt from the minimum fourplex upzoning and can enforce single family or other low density zoning but not Santa Monica, Redondo Beach, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Oxnard, San Diego, San Rafael, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, etc. SB 50 is a state mandated upzoning all other land to at least a fourplex (or more if close to transit, jobs or schools).  There is no affordable housing requirement for this fourplex upzoning.

On another subject, critics of these housing initiatives have said that the density bonus legislation has increased displacement of tenants by taking rent controlled units and converting them to luxury housing. With units being built in the area of Hi Point and Saturn 90035 for example, 95% will be luxury units with 5% or less “affordable” units. So if your income is not in the luxury level, you will not be able to afford to live in these areas. That is the concerted master plan in California. If single family homeowners want to fight this, now would be a good time. If you are a single family homeowner facing a buyout, this is what I would do: The state legislature maybe not now but eventually will prohibit single home lots and mandate fourplexes. That ups the values of your property TODAY. Those fourplexes will sell for about $2 million dollars each meaning the lot will be worth $8 million. Therefore, if they want to buy you out, ask for $4 million.

Finally FYI: the construction of many of these developments is being subsidized with tax dollars so developers are risking very little of their own money, so no need to worry about will the developers get a fair rate of return: it is a rigged game. LOS ANGELES – (1) I am supporting an ordinance that will require rent controlled building owners to hand out a booklet on rent control to every tenant (2) I am supporting an ordinance that will require non-rent controlled building owners to notify all applicants in writing that they could face unlimited amount rent increases (some such tenants have seen increases of $200 per month three times a year) (3) I support an ordinance that all property owners must inform all city wide rental/lease applicants in writing that 99% -100% of new apartments will be at market rent or luxury rent amounts (4) I support a city council declaration to the Olympic Committee 2028 that the city government of Los Angeles is making a concerted effort with the goal that 99-100% of all housing apartments will be at market or luxury rates, with less than 1% for affordable, middle income, and low income tenants. ( I don’t agree with that BTW but I think the Public should be told the truth of the Mayor’s intentions so that is why I propose the declaration.)

Support 2020 G. Juan Johnson for District 10

Are you prepared for the Olympics in 2028? If you have purchases like food to make, within a 20 mile radius prices will go up, so do your shopping before and after the Olympics. Also protect your neighborhood because street parking will be at a premium as Olympians take to the streets, many choosing to “park and ride” from your street.

To read an article on how gentrification/housing is affecting cities across the world, see the April 1, 2019 issue of National Geographics online.

Two great links:

The History of Single Family Homes in Los Angeles

Different types of low income housing in Los Angeles explained

The Wrecking Crew : there goes the neighborhood

Single family homes being demolished to make way for Garcetti-Wesson’s led Los Angeles neighborhoods of 99% luxury homes and rentals. The state government is moving to eliminate all single family lots in favor of fourplexes or a minimum four units on each parcel. It is anticipated the state may move to demolish existing single family homes. Pictured Hi Point Street between Saturn and Pickford zip code 90035. During construction already scarce parking will temporarily or permanently disappear. May 1 2019.

 

Commentary January 7, 2019

I try to never forget: all landlords need tenants. Or else they could not survive as a business.

Gentrifications means no more open green space, lots of freeway traffic but less and less parking, congested side streets, high density and high rent buildings, strain on the infrastructure, and on and on. It’s just not healthy. Makes one want to return to the days of Robin Hood and the Knights of Feudal society. Aren’t these new high density developments the Castle “Projects” for the rich and famous but the poor low income and no income serfs destined to live in the lower income regions?

Well, I guess rich people have to live somewhere too. To a large degree, the rich and famous will have the same problems as poor people: lack of maintenance, lack of maintenance, lack of maintenance. (That is why as 2020 candidate nominee for council district 10, I am supporting fines $10,000 fines against multifamily property owners who do not resolve maintenance issues within 10 days of receiving a complaint.) If you pay $3,000, $5,000, $6,000 per month etc., for rent, yes even in a brand new building there may be maintenance issues within a few months.

Not in a rent control building? Doesn’t matter because the accused racist and corrupt rent control-code enforcement-la housing Los Angeles city departments have shown that they will many times ignore health and safety laws and tenants’ right to maintenance. Before you sign a rent agreement/lease, I strongly suggest you write it into your agreement that “Repairs will be completed within 10 days or the owner will pay the tenant a rent reduction of $1,000.” This will help take the government out of the business of ruining tenants’ lives and denying them housing services. The government may help a few of you, but I would not depend on them, having sued the city, county, and state government for participating in housing discrimination in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles government officials unfortunately do not have a “zero” tolerance to maintenance issues in multifamily dwellings. Hopefully you will positively speaking not experience or witness housing discrimination, but the odds are in your favor that racism will continue to haunt tenants. In one celebrated federal court case filed in May 2016,  Black tenants paying rent for about $1300 per month were repeatedly denied housing services. The landlord had received about $31,000 in rent over two years. In court the landlords agents asked the court to fine the Black tenants $25,000, presumably in retaliation. The court denied the landlord motion but would not order the housing services requested by the tenant. I got lots of similar stories. Housing discrimination is big business in Los Angeles.

Under rent control laws, there are only twelve reasons why a tenant can face eviction (non payment of rent is of course one reason). But what happens in a non-rent control building? Under state law (rent control is city law), a landlord only need give 60 days notice and the tenant has to move. The landlord does not have to give a reason why. You just moved into your $3,000 per month luxury unit. But after one year, the landlord does not like you. He gives you 60 days notice to move. You are history. Here is another true scenario: You have a one year lease and you pay $4200 per month for a two bedroom. As far as I know, the lease will automatically convert to a month to month after one year. But 60 days before the lease is up, the landlord exercises his rights and asks you to renew the lease. These are the options: he will renew the lease and charge you $300 more in rent, or if you want to go month to month he will raise the rent $500 per month. Happens everyday.

I have appeared before three state court Judges and two federal Judges and still no housing relief in site. Hopefully as high rollers, you don’t run into that same type of housing discrimination. In some ways, even with government corruption, a rent controlled building can still be at least a temporary bargain.

G. Juan Johnson

(Helpful laws for all renters to study: City RAC 410.04 Housing services defined (LAMC section 151.02); State civil code section 1940-1954.05 Hiring of Real Property, CC 1941.1(a); State health and safety code substandard housing section 17920.3, Health and Safety Code section 19720-17928; LAMC section 161.601 Right of Entry. )

 

 

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