"If you are looking for a strategy to seriously undermine a civilization, just make sure there's not enough affordable housing," Denny Zane tells writer Jeremy Rosenberg on KCET's "The Laws That Shaped LA" blog. Denny tells Jeremy about his concerns about the Ellis Act, which passed in 1985 and allowed landlords to evict tenants in order to "go out of business" and remove their buildings from the rental market and demolish them in order to turn them into condos or to build new apartments or condos or — according to some advocates — sometimes escape rent control laws.

In the past decade more than 20,000 units have been “Ellised” in four California cities with rent control ordinances, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Santa Monica and Berkeley, and the records show that this number increases as the market becomes more active. Tenants rights activists say the number of Ellis Act evictions is already increasing as the real estate market begins to recover — tenants in at least 17 buildings in San Francisco’s Mission District, for example, were given eviction notices at the end of 2012.

In Los Angeles, where passage of the Measure R local sales tax has provided for the build-out of 12 new rail lines — new transit construction also tends to stimulate the market — there is concern about the increasing number of buildings that have been purchased in urban core neighborhoods where many transit riders and low income residents currently live. A recent study for the Los Angeles Housing Department expressed concerns about the effect of new transit lines on affordable housing in transit-rich neighborhoods, which currently house a high percentage of low- and moderate-income workers and their families — in Hollywood, Koreatown, downtown LA and Venice Boulevard to the south. The LAHD study is on our website here.

Read more on the KCET blog here.

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