Issues & Activities
Tenants’ Rights and Rent Control
The Coalition for Economic Survival (CES) is continuously fighting for new laws on the local, state and federal level to expand tenants' rights and prevent the loss of existing affordable housing due to demolition, unjust evictions, harassment, substandard housing conditions and loopholes in current laws.
In 1978, CES led the effort to win rent control in the City of Los Angeles. A year later, CES efforts were responsible for winning rent control in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. When the LA County ordinance was being phased out, CES focused on leading efforts that led to the incorporation of the City of West Hollywood and the establishment of rent control in this new city in 1984.
CES members entering LA City Hall to attend the 1978 LA City Council hearing where the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) was approved.
CES led the effort to restrict condo conversions and housing demolitions, which led to the City of Los Angeles substantially increasing tenant relocation assistance money amounts to renters facing eviction.
Most of the laws that protect renters in the City of LA were won with the leadership of CES.
In 1998, in coalition with other tenant groups, CES pressured the L.A. City Council to create the Systematic Code Enforcement Program (SCEP), a program to inspect the City's rental units for electrical, plumbing and structural housing code violations.
The City of Los Angeles Housing Department contracts with CES and four other tenants' rights groups to provide outreach to tenants living in slum buildings which are subject to the Rent Escrow Account Program (REAP), Utility Maintenance Program (UMP) and Urgent Repair Program (URP).
Under the contract, CES conducts outreach to tenants to educate them on their rights, encourage them to participate in these programs and verify that the repairs are made.
A building is put into REAP when there are severe housing code violations that the landlord has refused to repair. Rents are significantly reduced to tenants in REAP building and the tenants are encouraged to pay their reduced rent to the city, not the landlord, until the needed repairs are made.
CES was also instrumental in establishing the City of Los Angeles' Lead Prevention and Lead Hazard Remediation Programs. The City of LA now treats lead paint dangers as a code violation and if repairs are being made in a unsafe manner that presents additional lead paint dangers to tenants, particularly small children, LA Housing Code Inspectors will issue Stop Work Order to halt the work until there are insurances the work will be done in a safe way. CES and other groups also contract with the City of LA to provide education and outreach to tenants and to work in partnership with Housing Code Inspectors.
Long-term exposure to lead, a naturally occurring metal used in paint prior to 1979, can cause serious health problems, particularly in young kids.
Lead is toxic to everyone, but unborn babies and young children are at greatest risk for health problems from lead poisoning — their smaller, growing bodies make them more susceptible to absorbing and retaining lead.
Information on Los Angeles Housing Department Lead Hazard Remediation Program
Government-Assisted Low-Rent Housing
CES assists tenants living in affordable housing that are government assisted or have covenants that keep rents low. Many of these buildings are at-risk of expiring contracts that keep rent low, thus allowing landlords to convert to high rent units. The City of Los Angeles Housing Department contracts with CES to provide outreach and education to tenants living in these at-risk buildings as the US Department of Housing and Urban Development had done for many years.
Between 2019 and 2022, 138 properties consisting of 5,530 restricted affordable units (67%) have expired or were set to expire, with 73% of the at-risk units located in properties that have received assistance from Project-based Rental Assistance (PBRA), the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA), and the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development.
CES involves its members in fights to strengthen tenant protections and the preservation of existing affordable housing in supporting and opposing legislation on a federal, state and local level.
CES, together with San Francisco’s Tenderloin Housing Clinic, has been sponsoring a state bill to restrict evictions under the Ellis Act, a California law which allows property owners to go out of the rental business, evict tenants and convert the property to high priced housing. This effort continues.
Tenants' Rights Counseling
CES holds a Tenants’ Rights Clinic via Zoom every Saturday at 10 am. Renters from throughout the state have the opportunity to obtain advice through one-on-one individual counseling by tenants’ rights attorneys who volunteer their time.
CES also holds an additional Tenants’ Rights Clinic via Zoom every Wednesday at 6 pm that is restricted only to renters living in the City of West Hollywood.
In 1984, CES led an alliance of seniors on fixed income, gays, lesbians and renters to incorporate the City of West Hollywood. Up against big money and real estate interests, voter approval for cityhood was won and CES-endorsed candidates captured 4 out of 5 City Council seats.
The City of West Hollywood contract with CES to provide outreach, education and ensuring tenants' rights to WeHo renters. CES' efforts have also been successful in also reaching out to West Hollywood's large Russian immigrant community.
CES educates, trains, supports and empowers tenants to take action to protect their rights, their housing and their lives, and brings tenants living in threatened affordable housing together with tenants in private and government-assisted housing to create a powerful voice to preserve and create healthy, safe and decent affordable housing. CES assists tenants in securing required repairs, organizing tenant associations, and working towards the development of housing and health related policies.