LA Now Has a Tenants’ Union
What happens when a large group of people feel that they are being treated poorly and want to do something about it? They form a union.
In a city that has the least affordable rental market in the country, tenants want to finally take a stand for better treatment from their landlords. Many renters have faced steep rent payment increases, while not receiving any additional benefits. When the city comes up with new and costly building requirements, such as the new earthquake retrofit law, costs are often shared with or passed along to tenants while landlords are the ones who benefit.
The L.A. Tenants Union aims to give renters (and those who lost their rentals) a voice while supporting them in their battles with both politicians and landlords. After all, renters comprise over half of all residents in Los Angeles, and our homelessness rate has grown an astounding 55% in the past two years alone. Landlords win the affection of politicians due to their generally larger bank accounts, but what the Tenants Union can’t cover in money, they aim to make up for in sheer force.
The Union holds regular protests against such problems as the lack of funding to alleviate homelessness, unfair rent increases, lack of adequate public transportation, preserving historic buildings, and other related housing issues. Another goal of the union is community education. Many renters have no idea what their rights are, and as a result end up being taken advantage of. However, the union’s leaders also recognize that landlords don’t exist with the intention of stealing away all their money – the real issue is not the property owners, but the number of properties. It’s no question that there is a serious housing shortage in LA. Between the growing population, lack of construction and loss of rental units to the Ellis Act, there will need to be a great deal of new housing construction to keep up with the demand.
So now the question is…who is going to build it?