Santa Ana : $200,000 Returned to Rent-Strike Families

More than $200,000 in rent payments has been returned to 67 families who withheld the money from landlords during rent strikes in the past two years, a representative of the tenants said Tuesday.

About $23,000 was released to 17 families who paid several months' rent into a trust fund while battling a developer's plan to tear down the cottages they rented on Missouri Lane and Forry Lane, said Nativo Lopez, head of the Orange County chapter of Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, a Latino group that represents the tenants.

The owner, Plaza Development Corp., eventually razed the buildings to build apartments, but the families won a court decision that returned the money to them, Lopez said.

The balance of the money went to 50 families who stopped paying rent because of substandard conditions in separate strikes against the owners of apartment buildings on Minnie, Townsend and 17th streets.

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