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Tarek El Moussa evicts residents from rent-controlled apartments in North Hollywood

KIFI

By NICOLE COMSTOCK

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    LOS ANGELES (KCAL) — HGTV real estate star Tarek El Moussa has called on investors to partner with him on what he calls a once-in-a-lifetime housing development in North Hollywood.

In a pitch video for his proposed building dubbed, NOHO138, the “Flip or Flop” star called the highrise project “the biggest flip” of his life.

“What we’re going to do, is we’re going to tear it down,” he added.

While Los Angeles County is in need of more housing, there’s an issue with that plan. In order to build his 138-unit highrise, El Moussa has evicted several families from little, rent-controlled apartments along the 11100 block of Hartsook Street.

“It was really triggering and traumatic and totally ignoring the fact that people still lived here,” said tenant Clare Letmon.

Letmon and her husband, who are expecting their first child, are struggling to find affordable housing. Not only is rent in L.A. County sky-high, but her husband’s work has been severely impacted by the Hollywood strikes.

“They might say they’re going to start in August start tearing everything down but they can’t until I’m out of here — and I’m not moving,” said 78-year-old tenant Cathy Livas.

El Moussa’s investment company, TEM Capital, said they will “handle any potential move out agreements if desired by existing tenants during this period of time” and “proper monetary compensation will be offered to interested tenants who would prefer to leave early.”

Livas, who lives with a disabled family member, said the $15,000 to $20,000 in relocation expenses — which she’s entitled to by law — isn’t a fair deal when she’ll lose the apartment she’s called home for 40 years, especially when the developers stand to make millions on the new high rise.

“I mean it’s not their fault I don’t have money but it’s not fair either,” said Livas.

The residents said their soon-to-be-razed complex is one of the only cottage-style communities with green space and a garden left on the block as everything that surrounds them are new apartments.

“They’ve gentrified the whole neighborhood and it’s impossible for people to afford to live here,” said tenant Naomi Clemick.

KCAL News reached out to El Moussa’s public relations team and investment company but has not yet heard back. However, a website for the project, states the developers are following the law and trying to be fair.

“The entire process has been and will continue to be handled justly through the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) and a legal relocation advisor in order to make 100% sure the relocation is performed according to the law, and that the existing tenants are treated respectfully and lawfully,” the company said in the statement.

Plans for the new building call for 14 of the 138 apartments to be designated as low-income units.

“It would have been really good if he would have seen this as an opportunity to make good with some people who have been hurt and heard us out,” said tenant Jonpaul Rodriguez.

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