MALIBU—On Saturday, July 6 a group of protesters from Chinatown arrived at a Malibu home belonging to landlords Tom and Chole Botz to demonstrate.

The group of protesters from The Hillside Villa Tenants Association alleged that they recently were issued eviction notices after rising rent increases. They brought signs and a banner that read, “Stop hurting Low Income disabled seniors and families! Sign the negotiation now.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the Chinatown apartments owned by Botz had assistant programs through the local, state and federal government to keep rent down for a small period of time. The program is about to expire and renters are now trying to figure out where they will live. 

UCLA Luskin research titled “Map Show Gentrification, Displacement Police” states, “One of the key findings in this update is that the number of gentrified neighborhoods (based on census tracts) rose by 16 percent in Los Angeles County between 1990 and 2015.” 

The group of protestors in a prepared declaration stated that, “Many of us have lived in our homes for almost 30 years and our whole lives are in Chinatown. We’re elderly people with disabilities. And now we’re being evicted because Tom and Chloe Botz want to cash in as Chinatown gentrifies.”

In the beginning of 2019, Tom Botz issued rent increase notices to nearly all his units. Some of the rent increases were as high as 200 percent, or a $700 increase for some tenants, which would update rent cost to the current market rate. The Hillside Villa Tenants Association organized a public campaign to fight the rising rent prices.

The Hillside Villa Tenants Association along with the L.A. Tenants Union protested outside of the office of attorney Brandon Dimond, who represents the Botz family, on June 26. Several other organizations like Chinatown Community for Equitable Development, Democratic Socialist of America L.A. chapter, and Councilmember Gil Cedillo’s office helped to form an agreement to keep rent at an affordable cost which the Botz family and Dimond have not agreed to. As of June 1, tenants in the building owned by Tom and Chole Botz were given eviction notices except for tenants who are housed under Section 8.

The protest is not the first time the Botzs have received scrutiny. The father and daughter were declared one of Los Angeles County’s worst landlords in the newspaper known as Salvo. Salvo is a publication for working-class people of the greater Los Angeles area.

Written By Christianne McCormick and Maydeen Merino