Renting in #LosAngeles sucks.

Every year, there’s fewer options. Despite the dozens of cranes stacking new towers up outside our windows, there’s nowhere we can afford, and the new buildings sit dark.

What’s the deal? Whose interests does this unholy market serve?

Let’s talk.
Calls for affordable housing are old hat in LA. Despite new construction & a falling population, our shortfall increases yearly.

At all levels, funding for affordable housing has been repeatedly slashed. Followed typically by a presser, where officials moan we “need to do more.”
It’s not just that too little is built. Our affordable stock is actively being depleted through eviction, sell-off, and covenant expiration.

As fewer renter protections exists, the potential for profit grows. And like sharks to blood, financiers swoop in.
A full 67% of our rental stock now lies in the hands of financiers and investment schemes. The mom and pop landlord has become a dead myth.

Believing firmly that their duty is to profit, these elite-owned firms can engage in tactics that would bankrupt traditional owners.
For starts, they’ve learned from DeBeers: scarcity needs not be natural, to drive price up.

Financiers don’t need to rent out to stay afloat. Shortages let them fish for high-yield leases, pushing all rents up, as a bonus.

It’s no accident that vacancies outnumber the unhoused.
Without pesky, human relationships, even less friction exists to milking tenants—especially the desperate. The lower income the area, the more profits spiked.

Don’t like it? Well. You’re welcome to get a tent.

Fear and desperation thus blunt tenant power, and fuel compliance.
Lest they be outcompeted, these firms did not stop with existing residences.

While LA screams for housing, empty land sits in the hands of these firms. Their purpose is to withhold it, to sell or develop only at maximum profit.

They can be patient. They have the cash. We can’t.
Many of these firms are partnered or tied to developers, whom officials heap credit and favors upon.

They happily take subsidies, credits, and funds, but consistently fail to deliver homes. Solutions diminish profits.

Space to house hundreds of thousands remains packed dirt.
When they do lift the shovel, what they build is not for us.

More empty towers. More empty luxury suites. More husks of steel and silence.

Price us out. Hold the land. Build only for the highest returns.

It doesn’t matter if we end up on the corner. They’ve made bank.
Many (but not all) of stats here come from “The Vacancy Report,” and their citations.

Perhaps, after reading this, you’re thirsty for some solutions. The second half of their paper has a good summary of standard options.

But, I’m skeptical that power will willingly blunt itself
This is the system functioning as designed. Things will keep deteriorating, and more folks will be unhoused. These systems are cunning—not wise—and bank on us setting radical solutions aside.

#CancelRent and #NoVacancyCA are our compromise; they won’t be on the table forever.
Lastly, since I just found it again:

A deeper look at some of the dynamics behind that 13% of those 45,000 withheld, vacant units (and some counted as occupied, ridiculously), as experienced in London.

If you’re a thread fan, Doctorow is a good follow.
One last link in this thread: a fantastic article in Truthout, by the authors of the report which provided many of these stats.
You can follow @cantypelettwrs.
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