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Lawsuit: Company Evicted Formosa Rent Controlled Tenants, Listed Apts on AirBNB




LOS ANGELES (CBS NEWS) — A Los Angeles landlord illegally evicted tenants from their rent-controlled apartments and listed them on Airbnb, a lawsuit filed this month alleges. The suit accuses real estate developer Wiseman Management of tearing down rent-controlled housing to build luxury developments, depriving “immigrant, low-income, disabled, and elderly apartment tenants of their legal rights in order to put money in its own pocket.”

Tearing down rent-controlled housing to build new developments is legal in Los Angeles. But the conversion of long-term affordable housing into hyper-profitable short-term rentals is a growing problem in cities from New York to San Francisco, where housing advocates often clash with home-sharing apps.

Los Angeles’ rent control law covers about three-quarters of the city’s 620,000 rental units, but it also includes a number of exceptions that many tenants don’t know about. One of those loopholes, known as the Ellis Act, allows a landlord to take an entire building off the market — in order to live in it themselves, tear it down or convert the property into condos — as long as they give tenants a 120-day window to move out and some relocation funds.

“I was devastated”

The eviction came as a surprise to Jianna Maarten, a filmmaker who had lived in a two-bedroom apartment on Hollywood’s North Formosa Boulevard for 10 years, sometimes with her 63-year-old mother, Joanne Maarten.

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