As eviction proceedings are set to resume at the Lincoln Place apartment complex in Venice as early as Friday, September 1st, some of the remaining tenants say they are still unsure about where they may end up.
Eviction proceedings for the remaining tenants — all of whom are either elderly or disabled — were originally scheduled to begin June 1st at the 38-acre property, bounded by Pen- mar Avenue and Lake and Frederick Streets in Venice.
But after efforts by Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl to delay the evictions, Lincoln Place owner Apartment Investment and Management Company (AIMCO) agreed to halt the evictions through Thursday, August 31st.
The move was to allow the approximately 40 remaining households to have more time to consider “enhanced relocation packages,” AIMCO senior vice president Patti Shwayder said.
Denver-based AIMCO plans to redevelop the garden-style apartment complex built in 1951.
Now, as the date that the evictions can resume approaches, the remaining tenants are still refusing to leave their homes without a fight.
“We’re trying and still working at it,” 25-year Lincoln Place tenant Freida Marlin said of preventing the evictions. “I don’t know what will happen but I’m hanging in here.”
After a Superior Court judge denied tenants’ efforts earlier this month to again halt the scheduled evictions, the tenants continued to fight by filing their case with the California Seventh District Court of Appeals, according to Sheila Bernard, Lincoln Place Tenants Association president.
“We want to show that the evictions are illegal,” said Bernard, one of the remaining tenants who faces eviction.
AIMCO officials have asserted that they are legally allowed to evict under the state Ellis Act, which allows landlords to go out of the rental business.
While the tenants may not learn the Court of Appeals ruling by the time the eviction proceedings can resume, there is not much else that can be done from a political standpoint, Bernard said.
Rosendahl and other city officials have done all they could to try to stop the evictions, and now the fight is up to the tenants, Bernard said.
Shwayder said AIMCO plans to file “unlawful detainers” at Lincoln Place starting September 1st. The company has worked with many of the remaining tenants and has given them enough time to prepare for relocation, Shwayder said.
“One hundred percent of people who have worked with us have found satisfactory, if not better, accommodations,” she said.
AIMCO has offered tenants relocation packages for other AIMCO properties outside Venice, but Bernard said that would be “like moving away from everything you know.”
Bernard is still unsure about where she may go if the evictions take place as scheduled. She said she will most likely have to put everything she owns in storage and rent a room somewhere.
But while Bernard is not really concerned about her own future living situation, she said she is concerned for her Lincoln Place neighbors, who are getting older and have been living at the complex for many years.
“I’m scared for them,” Bernard said.
Marlin shared Bernard’s concern, saying that the thought of having to leave her longtime home at Lincoln Place has made her sick.
“It’s horrible,” Marlin said. “We had a home here and a community here. It was the most beautiful place.”
Marlin, who lives with her son, said there is no place for them to go, and she needs to stay in Venice because her doctors are there.
She said she is currently hoping that she “won’t have to” accept one of AIMCO’s relocation offers, but she may consider the option if it comes down to that.
“I have to do something after this,” Marlin said.
As the remaining tenants wait for the decision of the Court of Appeals, they continue to hang on to hope, but they also know that they must prepare for a negative outcome, Bernard said.
“We have to make sure that our people are clear about their choices,” she said.