Arnold Schwarzenegger tells landlords they'll be 'hearing from him' as they try to evict 102-year-old
Arnold Schwarzenegger has stepped in on behalf of his 102-year-old friend after landlords tried to evict her.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Thelma Smith was informed that she would have to vacate her unincorporated residence, where she has lived for almost 30 years, on March 8 so that the landlord's daughter, a recent graduate, could move in.
The notice telling Smith to vacate the property by June 30 reads:
"The reason for termination is our daughter will be graduating from law school in May 2019, and the dwelling is needed as her principal place of residence."
In the video below, a 30-year-old is evicted from his parents' house:
Schwarzenegger and Smith became friends through the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, a nonprofit that assists underprivileged youths, where Smith had worked as a secretary.
"Thelma has been a dear friend for a long time," the former California governor tweeted on May 24. "Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless. Thelma, I'll be reaching out to help. Landlords, you'll hear from me too."
The landlord's ability to evict Smith is the result of location. Typically, under Los Angeles' Rent Stabilization Ordinance, a landlord can evict a tenant for a relative, but only if that tenant was the last person to move in, which Smith was not. This law exists to protect long term, low paying tenants, but it weaker in the greater L.A. County.
The executive director of the Coalition for Economic Survival, Larry Gross, said: "They use this law to target long-term, low-paying tenants."
"The only thing I can say is that I've tried to live a good life," Smith told KCBS-TV Channel 2. "I never wanted to harm anybody."
"It's pretty outrageous and heartless to be evicting this woman," Gross said. "It just shows a perfect example of how tenants without strong rent-controlled protections are vulnerable to displacement and injustices."