Target: Senator Kevin de Leon, District 24
Goal: Don’t evict rent-paying tenants to build luxury housing.
The 1968 Ellis Act has been the biggest obstacle to ensuring affordable housing and renters’ rights in one of the most densely packed and expensive cities in the nation. As the affordable-housing crisis worsens in Los Angeles and thousands more fall into homelessness every month, it is time for city’s representatives to revise this law. The Ellis Act allows landlords to evict tenants, including those in rent-controlled apartments, if the owner makes changes to the building. This law has become a loophole for greedy speculators and developers who want to flip properties into high-priced luxury homes.
The median rent in Los Angeles greatly surpasses the average income. Developers are eagerly buying up properties in the pockets of the city where there’s still affordable housing, evicting tenants from low-income neighborhoods in the process. Gentrification is consuming every part of the city, destroying its culture and displacing mostly Latino families who have lived in the city for generations. Once evicted, these families are forced to find a home in an inflated market. Since the early 2000s, property owners have destroyed 19,000 rent-controlled units, while only 10,000 affordable housing units have been built.
Most evictions under The Ellis Act have come from landlords who’ve owned the properties for less than a year. It’s not struggling landlords who are benefiting from this law, but rather the greedy affluent. One of these developers is Matthew Jacob, who recently evicted 17 households in Los Angeles. He also happens to be the chairman of the California Housing Finance Agency, a state agency whose mission is to “create safe, decent and affordable-housing opportunities for low- to moderate-income Californians.”
The state must enact ordinances that prohibit affordable housing units from being demolished and tenants from being evicted solely for the purpose of profiteering developers. Urge Senator de Leon to amend the Ellis Act.
Dear Senator Kevin de Leon,
The Ellis Act is accelerating the affordable housing crisis in Los Angeles. It is being used by speculators and developers to turn the few affordable housing units left in Los Angeles into luxury homes. It’s displacing families who have lived in Los Angeles for generations. This law is going to worsen the homeless epidemic beyond repair.
Every month, 13,000 Angelinos enter homelessness. These homeless will never be able to get back on their feet when the current average rent in Los Angeles requires residents to earn $33 an hour. As a representative of Los Angeles, you should be doing everything in your power to stop the city from holding the second-largest homeless population in the nation.
Rent-controlled units are being demolished faster then affordable housing is being built. Preservation of existing low-income housing needs to be just as important as creating new housing. The California Housing Finance Agency, which is in charge of providing affordable housing, is failing its duties and it’s time for you to step in.
Please stop allowing the real estate lobby to continue hurting the citizens in your district. I urge you to amend the Ellis Act so that developers aren’t given ultimate power to evict tenants and turn their affordable housing into luxury homes.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Steve & Julie