LA City Council approves $15M deal to help Chinatown tenants fight rent hikes

LA City Council approves $15M deal to help Chinatown tenants fight rent hikesLA City Council approves $15M deal to help Chinatown tenants fight rent hikes
via FOX 11
Michelle De Pacina
April 22, 2024
The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a nearly $15 million program to assist tenants of the Hillside Villa Apartments in Chinatown, who have been facing rent hikes since 2020. 
Key points:
  • The $15 million plan will provide subsidies for dozens of units, addressing concerns raised by residents facing eviction due to rent debt. 
  • Some tenants urged council members to revise the program as they believe the deal still left them vulnerable to eviction for unpaid rent.
Catch up:
  • The building was constructed with funding from the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency, which imposed a 30-year covenant limiting the units to affordable rents. However, this covenant expired in 2019.
  • Since last year, residents at the Chinatown apartment complex have been rallying against the 300% increase in rent. 
The details:
  • More than a hundred families, including those receiving Section 8 subsidies, had been inundated with rent increases that they cannot afford. There are currently 35 residents facing eviction, many of whom are low-income individuals and senior citizens. 
  • On Friday, the City Council approved a 10-year deal, with a vote of 14-0, requiring the city to allocate about $15 million in subsidies for the 124-unit building. This agreement resulted from negotiations between the Los Angeles Housing Department and the building’s landlord, 636 NHP.
  • As part of the deal, Councilwoman Eunisses Hernandez secured a six-month extension before a six-year repayment period begins, aiming to keep tenants housed amid expiring housing covenants. 
  • However, some tenants still expressed dissatisfaction with the deal, as it still allows for potential eviction over unpaid rent. The tenants ask for revision on the deal to ensure that their back rent was paid off and that no one faced eviction. Additionally, they object to granting 636 NHP an extension on existing loans totaling $5 million at low interest rates. 
  • Residents have previously called on the city to buy the property in order to control rents. However, the housing department’s general manager stated that this approach would not be feasible due to the estimated cost of $800,000 per unit. 
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