Carol Fondiller

Bed and Beer

By Carol Fondiller
This is a re-print from the July 1969 edition

According to the long-term tenants, some of whom have lived at the Ellison for over 15 years, 15 of the 60 units in the Ellison have been “rehabbed” into youth hostel accommodations. So 15 units times $1,768 a month equals $26,520 a month. If these 15 units at $98 per 4 people in a room were only fully occupied for three months out of the year, the landlords would be raking in $79,580 a year – taking into account the minimum repairs the landlords would have to do, payment of commissions to people who recruit the young travelers and minimum wages to the manager who oversee the youth hostel section only (though law requires a resident manager be in a building with over 20 units).
The building owners have about $70,000 profit.
The permanent residents of 15 Paloma are not happy with this arrangement, but their rents have been held down by rent control so the building owners can only gouge $500-$800 from them for rooms with antiquated stoves and refrigerators, cracked ceilings, etc.
The combination of long-term tenants and transients don’t mix.
“The kids aren’t bad,” said one tenant. “If I was young and was seeing the world on a budget, this would be ideal. But the elevator is out half the time because of the heavy usage, someone is always using the laundry, they party all night, and because they aren’t permanent, they don’t respect the property. They unroll the fire hoses, plants have been killed, the patio is always filled with motorcycles, etc.
When people used to move in they signed a lease promising to be quiet among other things. When complaining about a rehearsing Tunisian rock musician who moved in as a permanent resident, some of the tenants were told that the only thing the owners cared about was that the tenants paid their rent and minded their own business.
Councilwoman Galanter’s office is busy trying to find an ordinance that covers hostels in a residential zone. The impact on the surroundings are negative: parking, noise, congestion, fights, etc.
The Ellison might be the most spectacular in this new development. It’s not the only one. There are two hostels on Brooks Av., one on S. Venice Blvd., and one in the Oxford Triangle area – all of the above are located in residential zones.
Perhaps the landlords are working on the ol’ bad-driving-out-the-good ploy that many landlords have used to their financial advantage. That is, move out the long-term rent-controlled tenants by moving in noisy and loutish new tenants, thereby chasing out the old tenants without having to pay them relocation funds, and turning more living units into youth hostel rooms or vacancy-decontrolled units.
Besides being a pain to the tenants, there are 60 people more in the Ellison than there used to be. In other words, 15 units have multiplied the tenant population by about 100%. 120 people are living in a space meant to be occupied by perhaps 60-70 people.
The hotel on Lincoln Blvd. is in a commercial zone, as are the hostels on Windward and Dudley & Ocean Front Walk.
Because these hostels have been snuck in, no business taxes or hotel fees or health and safety inspections have been levied or carried out.
Seen a lot of unfamiliar faces in your neighborhood lately? Maybe some entrepreneurial absentee landlord-type is sneaking in a Motel Six up the block.

Above: 1969 flyer advertising short-term vacation rentals in the Ellison – which is currently renting out just as many short-term vacation units as back then. Time to once again put a stop to this illegal scheme.