Tenants march in downtown Long Beach, calling for protection from harassment by landlords

Oct. 14, 2020 / By

A tenant holds a sign telling people to join the fight for tenants’ rights. Photo by Ceferino Martirez.

 

The Long Beach Tenants Union and other community organizations held a rally on Oct. 9 against landlords’ harassment of tenants.

During the rally, tenants of the Daisy Resistance spoke up about harassment they say they have received from their current landlord, Brad Johnson, who has attempted to increase their rent above what the current state law allows. 

An increase of about 40% and far above the current state law stating that landlords can only increase their rent by 5%, plus the rate of inflation, more than twice every 12 months. For some, the attempted rent increase has ranged from $1,250 to $1,750. According to LBTU Organizer Andrew Mandujano, tenants from two buildings were given different rent increases during the pandemic.

LBTU organizers and tenants marched to Johnson’s office to deliver a letter containing the tenants’ many grievances and demands.

 

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“Just recently [Brad Johnson] has threatened a tenant with eviction if she didn’t pay a 90 percent rent increase, and also took out the security doors and exterior lighting,” Mandujano said. “… It has escalated and escalated… to the point of no return.”

Tenants are currently unwilling to pay the increased rent and have demanded the city council make changes that help hold landlords accountable for maltreatment and unfair practices.

They marched to Mary Zendejas’ apartment at Pacific Avenue and West 3rd Street to voice their demands, leaving a message insisting she support them and their demands. 

Many of the protesters hope that these actions will pressure city council to listen, as many of them have expressed frustration over the current city council’s inaction in protecting undocumented working class families against abuse from landlords. 

Maria Lopez, another organizer for the LBTU, stated that until their demands are met, they will keep fighting against abuse by landlords.

 

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Ceferino Martirez

Known to his friends as “Kingfish," Ceferino immigrated to the United States in 2014 from the Philippines, part Spanish and part Malayan. Ceferino still dealt with the constant issues of poverty in Long Beach, living through the harsh realities of what he considers to be "two very distinct socio-economical societies." He is a member of the Democratic Socialist of America Long Beach and the West Side Representatives for the Long Beach Youth Committee. He is an advocate for worker-owned cooperatives, trade unionization and an advocate for a Federalization for working class Hispanics