Lisa Ehrlich and her family, who own three apartment buildings in the Westlake District of Los Angeles, dismissed eviction proceedings against about 65 residents participating in a “rent strike” since March.
“We dismissed all ongoing eviction cases against existing tenants in the Burlington Apartments because we want to give every tenant the opportunity to pay their rent and continue living here,” the building manager wrote in a letter given on Friday to residents of 131, 143, and 171 S. Burlington Ave. in Los Angeles.
“Recently, some tenants have decided to pay their back rent, including increases, so that they can stay in the building. We are relieved by their decision, but we also understand that others may not be able to pay all that they owe in addition to September’s rent. We want to help,” Lisa Ehrlich’s management company, FML, wrote tenants.
The letter asks residents to pay their September rent on time and offers an interest-free payment plan for past due rent and increases that the tenants have been withholding.
“We believe that residents have been given bad advice from the tenant union attorneys and activists,” said Robert Thaler, a spokesman for FML Management. “They have not explained that even if a tenant wins in court, they still have to pay back rent, and the increases, to stay. And, if the tenant loses, they are evicted from their home, their personal credit is damaged, and they face a legal judgment for tens of thousands of dollars.”
“We fear many residents have not been properly informed by the union lawyer of the risks they face. We want to give residents another opportunity to remain and that is why we are making this offer,” Thaler added.
Burlington Avenue Apartment Background
There are approximately 65 residents who have refused to pay rent in three buildings at 131, 143, and 171 S. Burlington Ave. in Los Angeles, since March 2018. While most of the buildings’ 193 units are paying their rent, the property management company took legal action to remove the non-paying tenants.
Residents of the buildings had received little or no rent increase from the property since 2008 and were notified by property management of rent increases in February of this year. The increase brought the buildings’ rent to the HUD average 2018 rental rate and is below the market-rate for the area, according to FML.
The management company said false and misleading claims have been made by tenant union activists and their attorneys about the condition of the building. Most of residents are very pleased with the apartment buildings, their quality, upkeep and safety.
Earlier this month, two tenants were evicted after losing in court. Other tenants have paid their back rent, including increases, so that they can stay in their apartments.
On Friday before the Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31, the building owners and property managers announced they were dismissing eviction proceedings against non-rent paying tenants, asking them to pay September rent and work out an interest-free payment plan for past due rent.
The apartment buildings, Burlington Apartments, has just released a new website at burlingtonaptsla.com so that tenants, the media and interested parties can read the history of this conflict. The website will keep tenants and community members updated on the latest news and information having to do with the property. Now that’s a novel and thoughtful idea.