Dear Mayor Mahmud and Council:
It was wonderful to be back in Chambers this week and to see all of you together in the same room.
I was late and missed General Public Comment so I’m taking the liberty of sending you my comment via email. My intention was to thank you all for your efforts on behalf of South Pasadena renters over the past 16 months. The community appreciates and recognizes your commitments to tenants rights.
So far this calendar year, we have had inquiries as to rent increases, notices to vacate and building safety issues. Communications are received through our Facebook page, email or referral. There was one inappropriate rent increase and tenant was advised to send a letter to landlord referencing the State rule of 30-days notice on rental increases.
Last month, I was contacted by a resident, Mr, Keith Wiggins, who had received a 60-day eviction notice. In the letter that accompanied the notice, the property manager stated that tenant had done nothing to cause the eviction and was an ideal tenant. The letter went on to say that the unit was going to be taken off market to house a priest. Tenant remitted his June rent, as said eviction is invalid under the LA County Temporary Eviction Moratorium, and a lawyer for the property management company returned the payment with a letter demanding that tenant vacate by July 31.
In consulting with a local attorney and Tenants Together on the validity of the eviction, both agree that tenant is protected under the County moratorium which had just been extended until September 30, 2021. In addition, tenant will be further protected under AB1482 as the law allows for eviction of tenant for owner to move in family members, only. AB1482 does not allow eviction for housing of employees.
Tenant sent a certified letter to property management company, Management Emporium Inc with a copy to Ms. Patricia Plesia of Holy Family Parish, on June 30 requesting that the eviction notice be rescinded. Management Emporium, Inc, Ms. Plesia. or their legal counsel has yet to respond. This week I put Mr. Wiggins, an Afircan American single parent who has paid his rent in full throughout the pandemic and is by all accounts an ideal tenant, in touch with Housing Resource Center. An intake was completed yesterday.
It is our expectation that the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, owner on record of 1411 Rollin Street, will realize their mistake and immediately rescind the notice. Mr. Wiggins deserves to remain housed as provided for by County and State law and should be free from any attempted harassment by property management company, counsel, or staff at Holy Family.
The City Council of Los Angeles recently passed an ordinance banning landlords from harassing tenants by eliminating services, withholding repairs or refusing to accept rent payments. The refusal of the Mr. Wiggin’s landlord to accept his June rent and the engagement of a lawyer to carry out this action against Mr. Wiggins, is the exact type of harassment that the City of Los Angeles made unlawful in civil court. South Pasadena Tenants Union and local advocates will continue to track any and all incidents of landlord harassment of this nature to determine if South Pasadena may need a similar ordinance in the future.
I will update everyone here on the status of Mr. Wiggins’ invalid eviction by Holy Family Church. He only has three weeks left to resolve this matter. We are deeply disappointed that the Church is the bad actor in this regard and that they fail to give Mr. Wiggins the courtesy and respect of responding to his request or accepting his June rental payment.
Thank you again for your time. Please feel free to message me with any questions or comments.
Anne Bagasao for South Pasadena Tenants Union (SPTU)
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