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Striking renters in Highland Park handed eviction notices

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A battle over massive rent increases heats up in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood

Earlier this year, facing rent increases of up to $1,000, a group of residents of the Marmion Royal apartment building in Highland Park announced plans for a rental strike as a means of negotiating an alternative agreement with the building’s new owners. Now, the LA Times reports that many of those residents are facing a mass eviction from the building.

Notices of eviction came after months of confrontations between the tenants and building owner Skya Ventures. The company purchased the property in May for $14.3 million, and planned significant renovations that were ostensibly the reason for the sharp spikes in rental prices.

Located right across the street from the Highland Park Gold Line station, the apartment was built in 1987 and is thus not protected by LA’s rent control ordinance (only buildings constructed before 1978 are eligible). The area has lately become a gentrification hotspot, with low-income workers struggling to pay rents that have risen far faster than incomes in recent years.

As the Times reports, the group of renters has been depositing rent into a trust account during the strike, with plans to turn the money over to Skya if and when a deal is reached. Residents are reportedly hoping for the company to agree to longterm leases that limit rental increases.

The 60-day eviction notices arrived following several confrontations between renters and workers contracted to sandblast the apartments—a process that residents said was creating hazardous dust and causing health problems for those inside the units.

Now that the notices have been served, it appears that the renters will have to make their case in court. The Times notes that a lawyer for the tenants expects a hearing on the matter will be held in January at the earliest.