Measure S Would Increase Evictions

westwood_senior center

The new owners of the Vintage Westwood senior center recently notified over 150 elderly, disabled residents that they were being evicted in order to upgrade their apartment units and lease them to wealthier households. This is terrible, and it’s opposed by virtually everyone in the city, including Abundant Housing LA.

The campaign behind Measure S has taken up the cause of the Westwood seniors, and they have implied that their initiative would stop these kinds of outrageous evictions from happening in the future.

This is flat-out not true: there’s nothing in the initiative that would stop or slow evictions in LA, for seniors or anyone else. In fact, by stopping the construction of thousands of new homes each year, Measure S will actually increase the pace of evictions and luxury/condo conversions.

Why? Right now, most of the demand for luxury housing is absorbed by development: the construction of new condos, senior housing, and apartments. Unfortunately, the demand for higher-end housing still isn’t being met in every neighborhood, so some unscrupulous investors continue to buy existing buildings and convert them to different uses for richer tenants.

If Measure S passes and new development on vacant or underused land is halted, conversions, demos, or upgrades of older buildings will become the primary way to satisfy demand at the high end of the market.  LA may see an increase in the number of landlords evicting tenants as they rush to upgrade their buildings for this more profitable clientele. In fact, the type of construction that Measure S would stop evicts and displaces almost no one because developers are converting sites like parking lots and abandoned auto dealers to residential or mixed use buildings. The ratio of new housing units to existing units lost for projects seeking general plan amendments in 2015 was over 1000 to 1 while for the average project not seeking amendments, it was 5 to 1.

The growing number of Ellis Act evictions are a real problem in Los Angeles, and reforms should be pursued. Unfortunately, Measure S will only make these evictions more common, while doing nothing to protect those forced out of their homes.

You can find more rebuttals to Measure S lies and misrepresentations below: