Protestors Decry Southland Rent Increases with Demonstration Staged at Invitation Homes In Pasadena

Published : Tuesday, November 14, 2017 | 6:40 AM

Office Attack

A group of Pasadena residents have protested at the offices of real estate rental agency Invitation Homes, calling for new laws that would protect tenants and make housing more affordable.

Spearheaded by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), the protest was a peaceful demonstration last Wednesday intended to show that property owners have been taking advantage of the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

Enacted in 1995, the act limits the ability of city and county governments to enact stronger rent control ordinances, and ACCE says it effectively made it easier for apartment owners to rent properties at any price. In Los Angeles County, the act limits rent control only to units built before October, 1978.

“There’s no rent control, that’s what we’re fighting for,” Sheri Eddings, protester and ACCE member, said. “We’re protesting to get rent control for residential homes for everybody. Not just Invitation Homes, but for everybody in residential homes because there’s none right now.”

Eddings said she’s been renting for over four years. Her rent started at $1,800 and is now at $2,300. About three to four weeks ago, she learned about ACCE’s initiative to campaign for the repeal of the Costa Hawkins act and decided to join the organization.

“I joined when they explained what they were doing, fighting on my behalf. Of course, I’m going to join them because I was fighting this by myself,” Eddings said.

The protesters also carried a letter that they demanded be faxed to Invitation Homes’ main offices in Dallas. Eddings said they were able to convince the staff to fax the letter to the company’s senior officers before they decided to end the demonstration.

Police also came in response to a call from Invitation Homes, but Eddings said the police saw it was a peaceful demonstration and did not see any need to force the group to leave.

ACCE also led a similar protest in Long Beach at about the same time, a KTLA report said Wednesday.

ACCE is a grassroots, member-led, statewide community organization working with more than 10,000 members across California. ACCE says they are dedicated to raising the voices of Californians to fight for the policies and programs needed to improve communities and create a brighter future.

Invitation Homes issued a statement after the demonstration Wednesday and said they are proud to continue to offer “high-quality homes and outstanding service” to Los Angeles residents, as well as around the country.

“While our homes represent less than one percent of the single-family rental market, we believe the professional service and resources we can deploy are helping set a new higher, standard for quality across the board,” the statement said. “Our homes are an affordable option for individuals and families seeking to live in great houses near good schools and jobs. Residents give us high ratings for customer service and satisfaction, and renew their leases and stay 50 percent longer compared to the apartment industry.”

Last month, leaders of tenant advocacy groups in California, with Michael Weinstein, president the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, filed a proposed ballot initiative to expand the state’s rent control, a measure that would repeal the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

In Pasadena an organization called the Pasadena Tenants Union was formed late last year with the mission of building “a movement to promote tenant housing stability in the City of Pasadena.”

Little is known about the group, as its organizer will not give interviews and last week ejected Pasadena Now Community Editor Eddie Rivera from the group’s regular monthly meeting, saying media were not allowed.

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