It would nice to think that in 2016 tenants living in a famously forward-thinking area like Southern California would not have to contend with unfair targeting by a landlord because of their race. Unfortunately, the practice still exists more prevalently than you might believe. A group of tenants have filed charges against a California property management firm claiming that they have been systematically harassed and coerced toward leaving their homes, ostensibly to make room for younger, richer, white clients.
This can be a far too common experience for tenants living in an area that is experiencing a resurgence in popularity. As developers move in to sweep up properties at a low price in an area, they often look for ways to evict tenants that will allow them to attract a younger, wealthier clientele. While there is nothing innately wrong with wanting to make an investment profitable, targeting a people group, especially a vulnerable one, and pushing them out of there homes is not an ethical practice, by any means.
Thee practices are not limited to residential tenants. As an area becomes more desirable, businesses are just as likely to contend with a difficult landlord who is hoping to turn a property more profitable with more lucrative clients.
The suit alleges that property management was unreliable for addressing serious issues like bedbugs, broken appliances, and mold problems. Some tenants were allegedly told that the management planned to rid the property of people who suffered from mental disabilities, or were told that they would have to talk to the police if the complained about issues. This kind of inhuman treatment does not have a place in an ethical landlord-tenant relationship.
If you believe that you have been the target of unethical landlord-tenant interactions, or if you have been pressured into exiting a lease when you have not violated the agreement, you deserve to have your tenancy protected by the law. The guidance of an experienced attorney can help you have your claim heard fairly, while protecting your rights.
Source: The Gaurdian, "'Learn English': LA landlords allegedly harassed Latinos to get richer tenants," Sam Levin, Nov. 18, 2016