LOS ANGELES — In a six-unit apartment complex in Chinatown, five-units remain occupied by low-income and refugee tenants hoping to stay in their neighborhood.
Families inside the building have been fighting an eviction from their landlord VF Developments since last year. Currently, there’s a county-wide eviction moratorium until Sept. 30 set by L.A. County Supervisors to prevent mass displacement during the pandemic.
“She should be staying at home without worrying about anything. But now she has to worry about the pandemic and she doesn’t know, once the eviction lifts, what’s going to happen to her,” Charisse Pham, a granddaughter of one of the tenants, said.
Pham shared that her grandmother has lived in her apartment for over four years and was served an eviction notice not because of non-payment but because she believes the developer wants to flip the building like others have in the Chinatown neighborhood.
Since the eviction notice went into place, Pham shared that the developer hasn’t been accepting her grandmother’s or other tenants rent payments. That’s why tenants and housing advocates recently protested in front of the developer’s home in Costa Mesa with payments in hand.
While the attempt to make their payment was unsuccessful, the next day, tenants believe the landlord spray painted graffiti on the apartment building in retaliation before having it was removed.
Spectrum News 1 reached out to VF Developments for comment, but did not hear back. While this is one issue renters are facing, Pham worries as a renter, she could be pushed out one day too.
“It’s not just my grandmother. I think right now everyone is on the same boat. Once the eviction lifts, it’s just going to be so sad. I’m just so heartbroken for people and even me because I’m also a renter,” Pham said.
As unemployment continues to skyrocket, one recent report estimates that more than 365,000 renter households could be displaced once the Sept. 30 eviction moratoriums are lifted in L.A. County.
As that day inches closer, the Chinatown Community for Equitable Development has been rallying to have city and county officials cancel rent to protect renters.
On Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a statewide eviction moratorium into law that prevents evictions and adds foreclosure protections for small landlords stemmed from the pandemic until Feb. 1, 2021.
“They don’t want any trouble, they try to pay the rent. They just want to stay here. That’s all they want,” Pham said.
But without a clear-cut answer on what will happen when the moratoriums are lifted, Pham can’t help but wonder if her family will be able to stay or afford a new place in their own community.