Trouble at home for mom

first_imgAs a single mom living paycheck to paycheck, Zenaida Hernandez prided herself on handing over the rent check on time every month for the past 12 years. So she became nervous a few months ago when she couldn’t locate her landlord at the first of the month. After receiving an overdue notice, she put a check in the mail. But she said the envelope was returned, unopened, a few days later. Shortly after that, Hernandez got a court summons evicting her for not paying rent. “I’ve never had the intention of not paying the rent,” said Hernandez, who pays $588 a month for her one-bedroom apartment near the North Hollywood Metro station, where similar units rent for $1,200. Hernandez’s complex is one of about 100 buildings that tenant-rights groups believe are at risk of condo conversion, demolition, unscrupulous evictions and slum conditions. Several housing and tenants groups plan to march today to City Hall, where they will ask Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the City Council to assign inspectors and housing staffers to resolve problems at the buildings. Advocates say tenants have been evicted from more than 12,000 rent-controlled units in the past five years. And although the City Council voted earlier this month to double relocation fees paid to evicted tenants, the money doesn’t go far in a market where rent averages nearly $1,600 per month. “I’m terrified that I’m going to get a notice that my building is being converted to condos,” said Donna Rodriguez, who pays $900 a month for a one-bedroom apartment she shares with her daughter in Atwater Village. “More and more of my neighbors have bunk beds and the parents sleeping in the living room. It’s getting crazy.” Rodriguez is working with ACORN, Coalition LA and a number of affordable housing and tenant-rights groups that want the city to adopt a comprehensive housing policy that would require affordable housing in new developments and provide money for projects in the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. “The timing is perfect for this march to push them into developing a comprehensive housing strategy,” said Robert Dhondrup, communications director for the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing. The march also comes as landlords and apartment owners have pushed for a review of the city’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which they say is too restrictive and hurts owners of older buildings. As for Hernandez, her eviction case will be heard in court Monday and she’s being aided by an eviction-defense group. An attorney representing her landlord said Hernandez’s eviction appeal did not mention any attempts to pay rent. kerry.cavanaugh@dailynews.com (213) 978-0390 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img