The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Los Angeles:
Increasing Rent by Eviction

Apr 25, 2016

The number of “rent control evictions” – landlords evicting tenants to raise the rent – has increased sharply in Los Angeles in recent years.

This is a double blow on tenants. Not only have they to pack up and look for a new place, they usually end up either with a higher rent than before or have to accept worse housing conditions.

And, of course, these evictions hit hardest on working-class people, whose income and means are limited. Newly-built homes are almost always out of reach for working-class people. Designed to make more profit for developers, they are overwhelmingly expensive.

Along with house prices, rents also increase at all levels of housing. In L.A. County, the average rent was 1,307 dollars in 2015, and is expected to continue rising. The California Housing Partnership estimated that L.A. County needed half a million additional rental homes so that low-income residents would not be forced to pay a huge part of their income for rent.

All this is happening while companies systematically lay off workers and push down wages.

Housing is just another commodity to be sold at the highest price possible – while fewer and fewer people have the money needed to pay the price. This all may be normal under capitalism, a system whose driving force is profit. But it is not normal in human terms. Capitalism has long outlived its usefulness.