Los Angeles

What is No Fault Eviction?

A family that has worked with advocates to expand rent control laws in Los Angeles County has been evicted from their own apartment in Watts.

Auberto Bustamante tears up as he talks about having to tell his three young children the family is being evicted from their one-bedroom apartment on Parmelee Avenue near Watts because the landlord plans to sell the building, and wants to renovate some of the apartments.

"I was paying my rent on time, every time. I don't know why we're getting evicted. I didn't do anything wrong," he said.

This is what's known as a no fault eviction. In California, in neighborhoods without rent control laws, it's legal for landlords who are selling their building to evict tenants even if they've done nothing wrong.

The Bustamantes have been on the front lines for the past year attending rallies and convincing LA County supervisors to temporarily expand rent control in unincorporated neighborhoods, which would do away with no fault evictions for up to $300,000. But unfortunately, the new ordinance wasn't passed in time to protect the Bustamantes.

"The judge ruled because this eviction case started five weeks before the law went into effect they wouldn't be protected," Tyler C. Anderson of the LA Center for Community Law and Actions aid.

The landlord's attorney says they offered to waive seven months' rent and give the Bustamante's $5,000 to move, but the family rejected it and took the eviction to court, where they lost. Bustamante's attorney declined to comment on any settlement offer.

The family's lawyer says he hope this case will convince LA County supervisors to make the temporary rent control ordinance a permanent law to protect other families from no fault evictions.

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