Tenants take complaints of poor conditions, harassment to Costa Mesa property manager

Tenants from a Baldwin Hills apartment complex protest last Thursday outside the Costa Mesa office of FPI management.
Tenants from a Baldwin Hills apartment complex protest last Thursday outside the Costa Mesa office of FPI management in an organized day of action.
(Courtesy of ACCE)

Tenants of an apartment complex in Baldwin Hills traveled to Orange County last week to protest alleged unfair treatment from a Costa Mesa property management company whose staff they claim has harassed residents and threatened to evict them.

A group amassed during a Dec. 9 demonstration outside the Red Hill Avenue regional office of FPI Management, which manages nearly 150,000 units nationwide, including a handful of Orange County properties and the 4063 Nicolet Ave. apartments in Los Angeles.

That’s where residents, primarily people of color, maintain FPI has attempted to evict them from their homes in an effort to raise rents while neglecting to maintain the units.

The event was part of a day of action organized by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE), a membership-based advocacy group that mobilizes citizens in support of economic and racial justice causes, including housing.

Nicolet Ave. apartment tenants protest outside the Costa Mesa regional office of FPI management in a Dec. 9 day of action.
Residents of Nicolet Avenue apartments in Baldwin Hills protest Dec. 9 outside the Costa Mesa regional office of FPI management, which they claim has harassed and attempted to unfairly evict tenants.
(Courtesy of ACCE)

Similar events took place in San Diego, where New York investment management company Blackstone, Inc. recently purchased 6,000 units to be managed by FPI, and at Blackstone’s San Francisco office.

The goal is to impel corporate landlords to work with tenants to negotiate rent increases, facility improvements and other important issues, says communications director Anya Svanoe.

“We represent tenants who are at risk of eviction or are being harassed or illegally kicked out of facing rent increases,” Svanoe said Tuesday. “We teach people how to organize their buildings and form a tenants union in their building to collectively bargain with the manager.”

ACCE representatives working with the Nicolet apartment tenants issued letters to FPI Management and Blackstone, calling on leaders to address issues, ranging from mold to insect infestation to a lack of security.

Residents are also requesting the company terminate an on-site property manager they say has harassed them and taken actions including issuing three-day notices threatening eviction and towing tenants’ cars without warning, according to tenant stories provided to ACCE.

“My first demand to the FPI’s Costa Mesa office is to fire this man from all of the wrong that he is doing to the tenants here and get [him] removed ASAP,” resident Gwen Atkins shared in her story. “The second demand for FPI’s Costa Mesa office is to stop their division tactics, like putting tenants against each other.”

Svanoe said ACCE is planning future actions involving FPI. The company’s reputation and social media manager did not respond by press deadline to multiple requests for comment.

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