Are Hostels Hostile?

C.C. de Vere

C.C. de Vere

· 3 min read
Screenshot of one of three problematic properties on West View Street.

Regular readers may be familiar with my disdain for anyone who has the audacity to take legally protected housing units off the rental market and turn them into hotels.

Well, it seems we have a related problem: hostels of varying legality.

I was well into researching a specific, highly questionable hostel in a heavily touristed area (more on that once I get more of the public records I've requested) when I received word of Mid-City Heights residents raising funds for legal representation.

Now why would they need to do that?

In part (please read the entire thing, it's horrifying):

There were crowds of strangers wheeling suitcases and wandering around the streets high, drunk, and dropping trash everywhere. Neighbors were harassed, followed, and woken up in the middle of the night with screaming and fighting. There was an immediate increase in phone calls to police, we saw LAPD answering calls with some arrests, and increased crime in our neighborhoods. There was a stabbing that took place in broad daylight in front of children. See the crime reports link listed below. We discovered those responsible were all coming from three of the recently built fourplexes on S. West View. Two of them were operating as illegal hostels charging $25 - $40 per night with 6 bunkbeds per room.

There is quite a bit more (including a 13-year-old girl harassed by two men who came from a "transitional housing facility" that has not served in that capacity since September and allegedly transitioned to hosting a Department of Mental Health program, but does not actually have a relationship with the Department). So PLEASE read the whole thing.

No one should ever feel unsafe or harassed in their own neighborhood. Period.

But does that matter to hostel operators? Particularly those who aren't following the letter of the law anyway?

While it wouldn't be entirely fair to paint all hostels with the same brush (there must be SOME that follow the law strictly and don't tolerate bad behavior), the two illegal hostels in Mid-City Heights are causing problems for the people who actually LIVE in Mid-City Heights.

It's bad. Like, 50 calls to the LAPD in ONE WEEK bad.

NBC LA picked up the story, although so far all the city has bothered to do is issue a few citations.

Neighbors quoted in the news clip are right to question the legality of the hostels. Just like hotels, they aren't supposed to be in residential neighborhoods (the city does allow some in denser areas if they acquire the proper permits).

And yes, even the LA Times is spreading the word.

The boxy new buildings going up in Mid-City Heights, South LA, and other neighborhoods aren't housing. They're mostly lodgings for travelers, students, and others who are not permanent residents.

We need housing to stay housing - and we need City Hall to get off its ass and fight for Angelenos.

Too many addresses to list, citywide.

Join the discussion!

C.C. de Vere

About C.C. de Vere

C.C. is a fourth-generation Angeleno and is horrified at what greed and hubris are doing to Los Angeles.

This website was built by her preservation pals at Esotouric.

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