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Outside of LA, county tenants want brakes on rising rents

Tenant's rights groups march to the steps of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' offices. Supervisor Hilda Solis' housing adviser, Russell Horning, came out to talk with them.
Tenant's rights groups march to the steps of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' offices. Supervisor Hilda Solis' housing adviser, Russell Horning, came out to talk with them.
Josie Huang/KPCC

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Groups representing tenants in unincorporated areas like East Los Angeles marched Tuesday on Los Angeles County supervisors offices to push for restrictions on rent increases and protection from evictions without any cause cited.

Dozens of activists targeted the office of Supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents East L.A., and demanded she support tenant protections.

"What do we want? Rent control. When do we want it? Now!" the marchers shouted.

As in the city of Los Angeles, investors are buying up properties in unincorporated parts of the county that taken together have about a million residents. Tenants in communities like Boyle Heights, Pasadena and Highland Park have all reported increasing rents as the county's housing demand continues to outstrip its supply.

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East L.A. resident Carolina Rodriguez is fighting her new landlord's move to increase the rent on her two-bedroom from $1,250 dollars to $2,000 — a 60 percent increase. 

"What I want to say is -- what about us? Do you actually care about the families? Because we need to stop this," she said from the steps of the county offices.

Solis' staffers came out of her office to talk to the activists, who belong to groups like the Los Angeles Center for Community Law & Action and Union de Vecinos.

Russell Horning, Solis' housing adviser, said the supervisor has a proposal that would call on the county to study ways to better protect tenants from displacement. Her plan calls for an advisory group, with renters represented, to work on tenant issues.

Carolina Rodriguez joined other tenants in calling for more tenant protections in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County like East L.A., where she lives.
Carolina Rodriguez joined other tenants in calling for more tenant protections in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County like East L.A., where she lives.
Josie Huang/KPCC

"It’s a crisis about how do we stay in our homes and how do we have protections to prevent ourselves from being wrongfully evicted? And how do we maintain affordability?" he asked.

Solis co-authored her proposal with Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. The board of supervisors will vote Tuesday on whether the idea moves forward.