VOICES--The Century City-based Shabani Law Corporation has been identified as buying up many rent controlled affordable buildings in and around LA's Koreatown since 2013. It appears they have developed a so-called "Koreatown Strategy" with these buildings, using illegal or legal methods to displace the existing tenants, renovate vacated units, and market the renovated units at much higher rents to young, single professionals. Once the buildings are occupied with new, higher paying tenants, Shabani sells the building, reaping huge profits.
One of these Koreatown buildings is the Normandie Linden, a 16-unit rent controlled property. At the end of July 2015, the new owners served the primarily senior and disabled Section 8 tenants living at the building illegal 90-day termination notices that would have led to their displacement. Coalition for Economic Survival organizers responded to tenants' calls and assisted them in filing complaints with the LA Housing + Community Investment Department. As a result of this action, the illegal rent subsidy termination notices were rescinded.
CES continued to work with and organize the tenants. Faced with ongoing renovation activity, a wave of frivolous 3-day eviction notices and a general lack of communication with management, tenants decided to demand a meeting a property supervisor. Tenants believed it was time to raise their concerns, obtain information on management's daily operations and get clarity regarding the new owners' intent regarding the future of their tenancies.
On November 23, the meeting took place (pictured). Residents collectively voiced their intent to continue their tenancies at the property, that they were prepared to fight any displacement attempts and that their rights should be fully respected. In response, management made a commitment to improve communications and better accommodate the needs of residents. Tenants are empowered and determined to ensure management commitments are upheld.
(Larry Gross is Executive Director the Coalition for Economic Survival.)
Vol 13 Issue 98
Pub: Dec 4, 2015