Posts Tagged ‘renter rights’

Fighting for Tenant Protections

In Accomplishments, Uncategorized on February 23, 2009 at 11:59 pm

 The City and the people should be allies not adversaries. There must be less confrontation and more cooperation; less government by litigation, and more government by thoughtful legislation borne out of thorough, reasoned debate.

The City Attorney can make that happen. As City Attorney, I, Noel Weiss, will make that happen.

As a private citizen, I have been committed to doing what I can to make the system work better for the people, help bring the City together, and have our system better reflect its core social values and principles:

For Tenants:

1. Getting the tenant relocation fees raised to $9,040 (from $3,450) for most non-senior and non-disabled tenants, and $17,090 (from $8,550) for seniors, disabled, and families. I fought hard against the Motion by Herb Wesson to dilute these numbers down $2300 for tenants who make above 80% of the AMI, or who had resided in their units for less than 3 years;

 2.  I fought to get the Housing Department to properly tell tenants in conversions of their right (after the reforms) to cancel their lease and collect their relocation money right away (a right no other tenants have);

 3.  Pushed for aggressive enforcement of LAMC 12.95.2 which is supposed to protect tenants in buildings to be converted from being evicted where the vacancy rate is less than 5% (the City Attorney was not enforcing this law);

 4.  Pushed for and procured an extra $40,000 for tenants in a building in Valley Village who were screwed by the speculator;

 5.  Fighting for the evicted tenants at Lincoln Place by filing a $20 Million class action seeking adequate compensation for having been wrongfully given Ellis Act Notices in contravention of a ‘no eviction promise’ made by the developer to procure the land use entitlement rights along with a right to return;

 6.  Fighting for and getting the Planning Department to incorporate specific tenant protection provisions and conditions in tract map entitlement decisions;

 7.  Fighting for the Planning Department to actually enforce the tenants’ rights to a hearing in conversion cases when they don’t get their relocation money;

 8.  Working to get the City Council to adopt affordable housing programs like TOPA (Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act). Other than the Mayor’s Inclusionary Zoning Housing Imitative, TOPA was the only other program included in the Housing Element passed by the City Council in August, 2008 (TOPA has been the law in Washington DC since 1980);

 9.  Fighting hard to get the Housing Department to do a better job for tenants;

 10. Trying to get Neighborhood Councils to adopt the idea of requiring developers to submit a tenant mitigation plan along with their development plan;

 11. Recovering over $900,000 since April, 2007, for tenants who were involuntarily displaced where the City Attorney refused to enforce the tenants’ rights to payment of the relocation fees to which they were entitled (for very little compensation, by the way);

 12. Trying to build a bridge with the Apartment Owners’ Association of Greater Los Angeles by working with members of the Association to understand the difficulties and problems surrounding the Housing Authority’s operation of its Housing Units.

What I have done in these examples is done all the time for the special interests who pay lawyers and lobbyists. But it has rarely been done (if at all) by a public policy advocate who has not been paid by anyone to advocate for a policy and has nothing personal to gain except the self-satisfaction of doing something positive, and leaving behind a positive legacy. This type of advocacy is what we should expect from our elected officials, and is the type of representation that I would continue as City Attorney.

 Isn’t it time that  Los Angeles had a City Attorney that is able to successfully fight for ALL Angelenos, and not just the special ones?