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Sep 30, 19

North Hollywood Tenants on Rent Strike Pay Visit to Landlord

Report on recent actions from the North Hollywood local of LA Tenants Union against a landlord that tenants have been rent striking against.

On the morning of September 28th at 8:30 am a crowd of tenants from the North Hollywood 11815 Gilmore St. complex along with supporters and organizers from the LA Tenants Union held an action outside of the home of property manager Lucille Hotnog. Lucille’s property management company, Gilmore Partners LP, manages the 11815 Gilmore property among others in Los Angeles. The 13 tenant families and LATU organizers gathered to protest Lucille’s cruel treatment of the 11815 tenants. Mrs Hotnog is currently trying to evict the tenants based on false claims and unpaid rent bills that are most likely incorrect.

During the action the tenants and LATU members quickly crowded around Lucille’s fenced-in yard and chanted “Gilmore Partners / Vendra a Negociar” “When you say Rent Hike We say Rent Strike” and “Lucille Hotdog / Get a Real Job!” After about 5 minutes of chanting, Mrs Hotnog came out of her front door visibly confused and flailing her arms. Foolishly she tried to wave her hands as if she were going to silence us with a magical gesture. The chants continued and Mrs Hotnog became visibly upset and retreated into her home. After about 10 minutes of hiding she started to take pictures from her window for which the tenants and their children gave various sarcastic poses. Cops did roll by, but saw the children and decided to keep on rolling by after giving us a nervous wave. Lucille obviously called the cops and we saw her watch them roll on by as well. Oh well, looks like the state might not always be there to protect you Mrs Hotnog!

The tenants of 11815 have been rent striking for the last four months against the gentrification of their neighborhood, against unfair rent increases (4 increases since November 2018), against racist and degrading treatment from on-site managers, and to have simple and crucial repairs to be made to their units. Mrs Hotnog works as a henchman for the Gilmore building’s owner: playboy Florida billionaire (and failed FL Governor candidate) Jeff Greene. Jeff Greene is despised in his hometown by the Palm Beach Tenants Association and has been generating more negative feelings with his recent plans to demolish the historically relevant Dorset Village apartments in South Los Angeles.

The tenants have continuously tried to reason with Mrs Hotnog in the form of direct negotiations (in which she demanded she would not speak with a group of tenants), in the form of legal pressure by hiring a lawyer, and have even remitted withheld rent in gestures of good faith. After trying to appease the tenants with half-baked concessions and failing to even meet halfway with the tenants demands, Mrs Hotnog and her associates abruptly shut off communications with the group of 13 tenant families and proceeded to start eviction processes. This all despite repeated calls to sit down and negotiate from both tenants and the tenants legal representative. Mrs Hotnog is clearly spending more money to pay for evictions than it would cost to make the simple repairs and negotiate fair yearly contracts that tenants want: she is evicting on basis of spite and contempt for Latinx and Black working class families. Lucille Hotnog has also communicated to the 11815 tenants’ legal representative that she is set on evicting the tenants simply because they have decided to form a union.

Lucille is at least right to recognize tenant power and is frustrated because the 11815 rent strike empowered tenants at nearby 11843 Gilmore complex to begin organizing too. The momentum spreading from 11815 to 11843 forced Lucille to address problems at the 11843 complex before another union could form. Thus, tenants at 11843 have enjoyed repairs being made without even having to organize!

Since forming an association and commencing a rent strike, the tenants have strengthened their solidarity and accomplished the following gains: racist on-site manager fired, had management rescind half of the unethical increases, over half of total repairs made, and improvements to the apartment building’s security. The property managers think their eviction tactics will scare or divide the tenants but as the tenants showed Mrs Hotnog today: they are still UNITED and will CONTINUE FIGHTING TOGETHER. The threat of court proceedings cannot shake the solidarity structure of the tenants and will only sharpen their resolve to win against the vulture landlord class that preys on struggling working class families.

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