Editorial: Tenant protections are homeless prevention

LA Times - At the tenant clinics hosted by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment Action, about 90% of renters who show up seeking help say they’re being harassed by their landlords.

Their stories have a familiar refrain, advocates say. A new owner buys a rent-controlled building and wants to clear out the existing tenants in order to raise the rents. Sometimes the property management company offers cash to get longtime tenants to move out, but the offer is accompanied by intimidation or retaliation. Rent checks are refused. Needed repairs ignored. Baseless eviction cases are filed.

It’s a concerted campaign to get tenants to move out. These actions are often illegal, but there’s little enforcement. Tenants can try to sue their landlord for harassment, but there are a limited number of legal aid lawyers available. Plus, the penalties for harassment are so low that it can be hard to find an attorney willing to take the case.

Read the entire article here.