Last September tenants in the buildings owned by Jones and Jones Property Management were served with notices informing them that a new rent online only policy would begin on December 1, 2011.
The notice stated that the new rent policy was for the purposes of 'going green' to help the planet and save trees by eliminating paper checks and envelopes.
But, CES Executive Director Larry Gross stated at the time that, "We believe the only "going green" they're interested in is the going for more green dollar bills, which they believe will increase in the form of higher rents after evicting people for non-payment of rent who are unable to deal with the new online technology. This is more about greed than green."
After receiving the notice, tenants sought and received assistance from the Coalition for Economic Survival (CES). CES helped to organize residents to oppose the new policy and contacted Bet Tzedek Legal Services who agreed to represent the tenants in a legal action against Jones and Jones.
Many of these tenants are over the age of 62 and have lived in their homes for a decade or more, and, thus, are paying the lowest rent.
In addition, many of these tenants do not own computers, are not computer literate, and are living on fixed incomes.
"I am 86 years old and I am computer illiterate," said Margaret Beavers, a resident a Crenshaw area Jones and Jones apartment since 1963, and a CES member. "I'd have to buy a computer and learn how to use it; at 86 I want to travel and do other things."
Gross added, "This policy was nothing more than a scheme to target the long-term, low-rent tenants for eviction to obtain higher rents."
"This law will now prohibit these actions and provide tenants with a choice on how they prefer to pay their rent. It is a tremendous tenants' rights victory, Gross concluded.