Notorious eviction attorney Dennis Block boasts to have “evicted more than tenants than any other human being on the planet Earth.” He describes rent control as a “cancer,” and cheers on rising rents on Twitter. Like many of the landlords he represents, he’s made a fortune by putting profits over people. Unsurprisingly, he’s one of the most vocal opponents of Prop 10.
Based in Los Angeles, Block proudly claims that he’s evicted than 200,000 tenants since 1976 — a staggering number that’s larger than the population of Pasadena. His speciality? Kicking people out of rent-stabilized apartments so landlords can significantly raise rents with new tenants.
In 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported that Block attempted to evict a disabled woman from her rent-stabilized apartment in Hollywood because she was a few days late with her rent. Her lawyers said Block and the landlord’s true motivation was to remove her so they could bring in a new tenant and dramatically raise the rent. A judge stopped the shady tactic, and the woman was allowed to stay.
A shameless self-promoter, Block regularly holds seminars, tapes podcasts, and posts on Twitter and Facebook, offering up eviction strategies. At one conference, according to a leading anti-eviction attorney, Block half-jokingly suggested that a surefire way to get rid of pesky tenants is to “shoot them.”
These days, Block has been urging landlords to jack up rents before the passage of Proposition 10, a statewide ballot measure that will allow communities to put reasonable limits on excessive rents. Profits always come first for Block and his ilk, even if that means forcing families and seniors into homelessness.
As corporate landlords such as Blackstone billionaire CEO Stephen Schwarzman and Equity Residential billionaire chairman Sam Zell grab for even more king-sized profits, median rents in California are higher than any other state in the country. Among all 50 states, California has the fourth highest increase in rents.
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a Californian earning minimum wage would have to work 92 hours per week in order to afford to rent an average one-bedroom apartment. And even though the state represents only 12 percent of the total U.S. population, California is home to 22 percent of the nation’s homeless population, according to the California Department of Housing and Community Development.
But the Yes on 10 movement is fighting back — and continues to grow. Trusted organizations like the California Democratic Party, California Teachers Association, SEIU, AFSCME, and the California Nurses Association have joined the movement to stand up for the families and workers they represent.
Tenant defense groups like the Eviction Defense Network, Property Owners for Fair and Affordable Housing, and others urge Californians to vote “yes” on Prop 10. Civil rights and faith-based groups like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California, the ACLU of California, PICO California, and many others have endorsed the initiative.
Blocks hates it all — and tweets obsessively.
On June 5, 2017, when tweeting an article about rising rents and homelessness, the eviction attorney wrote glibly: “Rents going up! Good news for landlords.”
On May 9, 2017, when tweeting an article about East LA tenants and activists marching for rent control protections, Block dismissively wrote: “Rent control is really just Tenant Welfare and this cancer keeps trying to expand.”
On July 9, 2017, when tweeting an article about the street-level impacts of steep rent hikes by real estate investors, the eviction attorney nevertheless urged: “Investors – Raise your rents while you can.”
And on February 9, 2018, Block bitterly complained: “I am so frustrated with tenants demanding affordable housing…”
Block says evicting tenants is his “patriotic duty” — and it’s paid off handsomely. The attorney lives in exclusive Calabasas, where he owns a 7,779-square-foot mansion with 6 bedrooms and 6 baths and a tennis court that Zillow estimates to be worth $3.4 million.
Block joins a long list of billionaires and multi-millionaires who have made big profits off the backs of working people — and are now opposing Prop 10. California faces severe housing-affordability and homeless crises, but they don’t care. For Block, Schwarzman, and Zell, only money matters.